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Coding and modulation for multiple-antenna systems have gained much attention in wireless communications. This paper investigates a noncoherent trellis-coded scheme based on differential unitary space-time modulation when neither the transmitter nor the receiver know the channel. In a time-varying flat Rayleigh fading environment, we derive differentially noncoherent decision metrics and obtain performance measures for systems with either an ideal interleaver or no interleaver. We demonstrate that with an ideal interleaver, the system performance is dominated by the minimum Hamming distance of the trellis code, while without an interleaver, the performance is dominated by the minimum free squared determinant distance (a novel generalization of the Euclidean distance) of the code. For both cases, code construction is described for Ungerboeck-type codes. Several examples that are based on diagonal cyclic group constellations and offer a good tradeoff between the coding advantage and trellis complexity are provided. Simulation results show that, by applying the soft-decision Viterbi decoder, the proposed scheme can achieve very good performance even with few receive antennas. Extensions to trellis-coded differential space-time block codes are also discussed.
Date of Publication: April 2003