[en] Cooperative Satellite Communications (SatComs) involve multi-antenna satellites enabled for the joint transmission and reception of signals. This joint processing of baseband signals is realized amongst the distinct but interconnected antennas.
Advanced signal processing techniques –namely precoding and Multiuser Detection (MUD)– are herein examined in the multibeam satellite context. The aim of this thesis is to establish the prominence of such methods in the next generation of broadband satellite networks. To this end, two approaches are followed. On one hand, the performance of the well established and theoretically concrete MUD is analysed over the satellite environments. On the other, optimal signal processing designs are developed and evaluated for the forward link.
In more detail, the present dissertation begins by introducing the topic of multibeam joint processing. Thus, the most significant practical constraints that hinder the application of advanced interference mitigation techniques in satellite networks are identified and discussed. Prior to presenting the contributions of this work, the multi-antenna joint processing problem is formulated using the generic Multiuser (MU) Multiple InputMultiple Output (MIMO) baseband signal model. This model is also extended to apply in the SatComs context. A detailed presentation of the related work, starting from a generic signal processing perspective and then focusing on the SatComs field, is then given. With this review, the main open research topics are identified.
Following the comprehensive literature review, the first contribution of this work, is presented. This involves the performance evaluation of MUD in the Return Link (RL) of multiuser multibeam SatComs systems. Novel, analytical expressions are derived to describe the information theoretic channel capacity as well as the performance of practical receivers over realistic satellite channels. Based on the derived formulas, significant insights for the design of the RL of next generation cooperative satellite systems are provided.
In the remaining of this thesis, the focus is set on the Forward Link (FL) of multibeam SatComs, where precoding, combined with aggressive frequency reuse configurations, are proposed to enhance the offered throughput. In this context, the alleviation of practical constraints imposed by the satellite channel is the main research challenge. Focusing on the rigid framing structure of the legacy SatCom standards, the fundamental frame-based precoding problem is examined. Based on the necessity to serve multiple users by a single transmission, the connection of the frame-based precoding and the fundamental signal processing problem of physical layer multigroup multicasting is established. In this framework and to account for the power limitations imposed by a dedicated High Power Amplifier (HPA) per transmit element, a novel solution for multigroup multicasting under Per Anntenna Constraints (PACs) is derived. Therefore, the gains offered by multigroup multicasting in frame-based systems are quantified over an accurate simulation setting. Finally, advanced multicast and interference aware scheduling algorithms are proposed to glean significant gains in the rich multiuser satellite environment.
The thesis concludes with the main research findings and the identification of new research challenges, which will pave the way for the deployment of cooperative multibeam satellite systems.