Software-defined sphere decoding for FPGA-based MIMO detection

Xuezheng Chu, John McAllister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Sphere Decoding (SD) is a highly effective detection technique for Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) wireless communications receivers, offering quasi-optimal accuracy with relatively low computational complexity as compared to the ideal ML detector. Despite this, the computational demands of even low-complexity SD variants, such as Fixed Complexity SD (FSD), remains such that implementation on modern software-defined network equipment is a highly challenging process, and indeed real-time solutions for MIMO systems such as 4 4 16-QAM 802.11n are unreported. This paper overcomes this barrier. By exploiting large-scale networks of fine-grained softwareprogrammable processors on Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), a series of unique SD implementations are presented, culminating in the only single-chip, real-time quasi-optimal SD for 44 16-QAM 802.11n MIMO. Furthermore, it demonstrates that the high performance software-defined architectures which enable these implementations exhibit cost comparable to dedicated circuit architectures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6255800
Pages (from-to)6017-6026
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • FPGA
  • Multicore
  • Sphere Decoder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Signal Processing


Dive into the research topics of 'Software-defined sphere decoding for FPGA-based MIMO detection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Best Paper Prize

    McAllister, John (Recipient), 24 Mar 2011

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Cite this