Antenna Diversity - Processing Techniques

Processing Techniques

All of the above techniques require some sort of post processing to recover the desired message. Among these techniques are:

- Switching – In a switching receiver, the signal from only one antenna is fed to the receiver for as long as the quality of that signal remains above some prescribed threshold. If and when the signal degrades, another antenna is switched in. Switching is the easiest and least power consuming of the antenna diversity processing techniques but periods of fading and desynchronization may occur while the quality of one antenna degrades and another antenna link is established.

- Selecting – As with switching, selection processing presents only one antenna’s signal to the receiver at any given time. The antenna chosen, however, is based on the best signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) among the received signals. This requires that a pre-measurement take place and that all antennas have established connections (at least during the SNR measurement) leading to a higher power requirement. The actual selection process can take place in between received packets of information. This ensures that a single antenna connection is maintained as much as possible. Switching can then take place on a packet-by-packet basis if necessary.

- Combining – In combining, all antennas maintain established connections at all times. The signals are then combined and presented to the receiver. Depending on the sophistication of the system, the signals can be added directly (equal gain combining) or weighted and added coherently (maximal-ratio combining). Such a system provides the greatest resistance to fading but since all the receive paths must remain energized, it also consumes the most power.

- Dynamic Control – Dynamically controlled receivers are capable of choosing from the above processing schemes for whenever the situation arises. While much more complex, they optimize the power vs. performance trade-off. Transitions between modes and/or antenna connections are signaled by a change in the perceived quality of the link. In situations of low fading, the receiver can employ no diversity and use the signal presented by a single antenna. As conditions degrade, the receiver can then assume the more highly reliable but power-hungry modes described above.

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