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LAYERED MODULATION FOR DIGITAL SIGNALS
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field
of the Invention
 The present invention relates generally to systems for transmitting and receiving digital signals, and in particular, to systems for broadcasting and receiving layered modulation in digital signals.
 2. Description of the Related Art
 Digital signal communication systems have been used in various fields, including digital TV signal transmission, either terrestrial or satellite.
 As the various digital signal communication systems and services evolve, there is a burgeoning demand for increased data throughput and added services. However, it is more difficult to implement either improvement in old systems and new services when it is necessary to replace existing legacy hardware, such as transmitters and receivers. New systems and services are advantaged when they can utilize existing legacy hardware. In the realm of wireless communications, this principle is further highlighted by the limited availability of electromagnetic spectrum. Thus, it is not possible (or at least not practical) to merely transmit enhanced or additional data at a new frequency.
 The conventional method of increasing spectral capacity is to move to a higher-order modulation, such as from quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) to eight phase shift keying (8 PSK) or sixteen quadrature amplitude modulation (16 QAM). Unfortunately, QPSK receivers cannot demodulate conventional 8 PSK or 16 QAM signals. As a result, legacy customers with QPSK receivers must upgrade their receivers in order to continue to receive any signals transmitted with an 8 PSK or 16 QAM modulation.
 It is advantageous for systems and methods of transmitting signals to accommodate enhanced and increased data throughput without requiring additional frequency. In addition, it is advantageous for enhanced and increased throughput signals for new receivers to be compatible with legacy receivers. There is further an advantage for systems and methods which allow transmission signals to be upgraded from a source separate from the legacy transmitter.
 The present invention obtains these advantages.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 Signals, systems and methods for transmitting and receiving non-coherent layered modulation for digital signals are presented. For example, a layered signal for transmitting data, comprises a first signal layer including a first carrier and first signal symbols for a first digital signal transmission and a second signal layer including a second carrier and second signal symbols for a second signal transmission disposed on the first signal layer, wherein the layered signal has the first carrier demodulated and first layer decoded to produce the first signal symbols for a first layer transport, the first signal symbols are remodulated and subtracted from the layered signal to produce the second signal layer, and the second signal layer has the second carrier demodulated and decoded to produce the second signal symbols for a second layer transport.
 A receiver of the invention receives the combined layered signal and demodulates it to produce the first carrier and a stable combined signal. The stable combined signal is decoded to produce first layer symbols which are provided to a first layer transport. The first layer symbols are also used to construct an idealized first layer signal. The idealized first layer signal is subtracted from the stable combined layered signal to produce the second layer signal. The second layer signal is demodulated, decoded and the output second layer symbols are provided to a second layer transport.
 In the invention, a second (lower) layer of modulation is added to a first (upper) layer of modulation. Such an approach affords backwards-compatible implementation, i.e. legacy equipment can remain unchanged and continue to transmit and receive signals while new equipment may simultaneously transmit and receive enhanced signals. The addition of the second layer provides increased capacity and services to receivers that can process information from both layers. The upper and lower layer signals may be noncoherent; there is no required carrier phase relationship between the two signal layers.
 Alternate embodiments may abandon backward compatibility with particular legacy equipment. However, layered modulation may still be used to provide expanded services with future system upgrades. Furthermore, as will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art, the principle of the invention may be extended to additional layers of modulation, with independent modulations, forward error correction (FEC) coding and code rates as the system may support in the future, while maintaining backward compatibility. The present invention provides many advantages.
 For example, spectral efficiency may be significantly increased while maintaining backward compatibility with pre-existing receivers; if both layers use the same modulation with the same code rate, the spectral efficiency may be doubled. The present invention is more energy efficient and more bandwidth efficient than other backwardscompatible techniques using adapted 8 PSK and 16 QAM.
 While it can achieve at least the spectral efficiency of a 16 QAM modulation, the new modulation of the present invention does not require a linear traveling wave tube amplifier (TWTA) as with 16 QAM. All layers may use QPSK or 8 PSK, which are much more insensitive to TWTA nonlinearity. Also, by using QPSK modulation for all layers in the present invention, there is no additional performance penalty imposed on 8 PSK or 16 QAM due to carrier phase recovery error.
 Also with the present invention, because the signals of different layers are non-coherent there is no required coordination in transmitting the separate layers. Therefore, the signal of a new layer may be transmitted from a different TWTA or even a different satellite. This allows implementation of the backward-compatible scheme at a later date, such as when a TWTA can output sufficient power to support multiple-layered modulations.
 In addition, in typical embodiment the upper layers of the present invention are much more robust to rain fade. Only the lower layer is subject to the same rain fade as the current signal waveform does. As the legacy signal level is moved up in power, existing subscribers will experience far fewer service disruptions from rain fade.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 Referring now to the drawings in which like reference numbers represent corresponding parts throughout:
 FIGS. 1A-1C illustrate the relationship of signal layers in a layered modulation transmission;
 FIGS. 2A-2C illustrate a signal constellation of a second transmission layer over a first transmission layer non-coherently;
 FIG. 3 is a block diagram for a typical system of the present invention;
 FIGS. 4A-4B are block diagrams for reception of first and second layered modulation by a typical receiver of the present invention; and
 FIGS. 5A-5B depict the power levels for example embodiments of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED
 In the following description, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and which show, by way of illustration, several embodiments of the present invention. It is understood that other embodiments may be utilized and structural changes may be made without departing from the scope of the present invention.
 The present invention provides for the modulation of signals at different power levels and advantageously for the signals to be non-coherent from each layer. In addition, independent modulation and coding of the signals may be performed. Backwards compatibility with legacy receivers, such as a quadrature phase shift keying (QPSK) receiver is enabled and new services are provided to new receivers. A typical new receiver of the present invention uses two demodulators and one remodulator as will be described in detail hereafter.
 In a typical backwards-compatible embodiment of the present invention, the legacy QPSK signal is boosted in power to a higher transmission (and reception) level. This creates a power "room" in which a new lower layer signal may operate. The legacy receiver will not be able to distinguish the new lower layer signal, from additive white Gaussian noise, and thus operates in the usual manner. The optimum selection of the layer power levels is based on accommodating the legacy equipment, as well as the desired new throughput and services.
 The new lower layer signal is provided with a sufficient carrier to thermal noise ratio to function properly. The new lower layer signal and the boosted legacy signal are non-coherent with respect to each other. Therefore, the new lower layer signal can be implemented from a different TWTA and even from a different satellite. The new lower layer signal format is also independent of the legacy format, e.g., it may be QPSK or 8 PSK, using the conventional concatenated FEC code or using a new Turbo code. The lower layer signal may even be an analog signal.
 The combined layered signal is demodulated and decoded by first demodulating the upper layer to remove the upper carrier. The stabilized layered signal may then have
the upper layer FEC decoded and the output upper layer symbols communicated to the upper layer transport. The upper layer symbols are also employed in a remodulator, to generate an idealized upper layer signal. The idealized upper layer signal is then subtracted from the stable layered signal to reveal the lower layer signal. The lower layer signal is then demodulated and FEC decoded and communicated to the lower layer transport.
 Signals, systems and methods using the present invention may be used to supplement a pre-existing transmission compatible with legacy receiving hardware in a backwards-compatible application or as part of a preplanned layered modulation architecture providing one or more additional layers at a present or at a later date.
 FIGS. 1A-1C illustrate the basic relationship of signal layers in a layered modulation transmission. FIG. 1A illustrates a first layer signal constellation 100 of a transmission signal showing the signal points or symbols 102. FIG. IB illustrates the second layer signal constellation of symbols 104 over the first layer signal constellation 100 where the layers are coherent. FIG. 1C illustrates a second signal layer 106 of a second transmission layer over the first layer constellation where the layers may be non-coherent. The second layer 106 rotates about the first layer constellation 102 due to the relative modulating frequencies of the two layers in a non-coherent transmission. Both the first and second layers rotate about the origin due to the first layer modulation frequency as described bypath 108.
 FIGS. 2A-2C illustrate a signal constellation of a second transmission layer over the first transmission layer after first layer demodulation. FIG. 2A shows the constellation 200 before the first carrier recovery loop (CRL) and FIG. 2B shows the constellation 200 after CRL. In this case, the signal points of the second layer are actually rings 202. FIG. 2C depicts a phase distribution of the received signal with respect to nodes 102. Relative modulating frequencies cause the second layer constellation to rotate around the nodes of the first layer constellation. After the second layer CRL this rotation is eliminated. The radius of the second layer constellation is determined by its power level. The thickness of the rings 202 is determined by the carrier to noise ratio (CNR) of the second layer. As the two layers are non-coherent, the second layer may also be used to transmit analog or digital signals.
 FIG. 3 is a block diagram for a typical system 300 of the present invention. Separate transmitters 316A, 316B, as may be located on any suitable platform, such as satellites 306A, 306B, are used to non-coherently transmit different layers of a signal of the present invention. Uplink signals are typically transmitted to each satellite 306A, 306B from one or more transmit stations 304 via an antenna 302. The layered signals 308A, 308B (downlink signals) are received at receiver antennas 312, 320, such as satellite dishes, each with a low noise block (LNB) 310, 318 where they are then coupled to integrated receiver/decoders (IRDs) 314, 322. Because the signal layers may be transmitted non-coherently, separate transmission layers may be added at any time using different satellites 306A, 306B or other suitable platforms, such as ground based or high altitude platforms. Thus, any composite signal, including new additional signal