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The average bit-error rate performance of one-stage and two-stage diversity combining schemes operating over correlated fading channels is investigated. Two channel models that can significantly simplify the performance analysis are considered. In particular, a linear correlation channel model having equal branch variances can be decorrelated at the receiver, so that the branches become independent. It is shown that, in general, employing diversity combining schemes for decorrelated or orthogonalized branches can recover some of the diversity gain lost due to the branch correlations. This is observed, for example, for the case of hybrid selection/maximum ratio combining operating over decorrelated and orthogonalized non-zero mean Gaussian fading channels. Furthermore, a fading amplitude channel model is proposed assuming vector norm superposition of the impinging plane waves. This channel model is well-suited for the performance analysis of maximum ratio and equal gain combining schemes operating over correlated fading channels. Finally, the average bit error rates of several diversity combining schemes are evaluated analytically using the Prony approximation method as well as using computer simulation.
Date of Publication: July 2009