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42 Ansichten27 SeitenDigital modulation classi"cation using constellation shape

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E-mail address: mobasser@ece.vill.edu (B.G. Mobasseri)

Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277

Digital modulation classi"cation using constellation shape

Bijan G. Mobasseri*

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085, USA

Received 12 September 1997; received in revised form 2 September 1999

Abstract

Constellation diagram is a traditional and powerful tool for design and evaluation of digital modulations. In this work

we propose to use constellation shape as a robust signature for digital modulation recognition. We represent the

transmitted `informationa by the geometry of the constellation. Received information is in turn the recovered constella-

tion shape that is deformed by noise, channel and receiver implementation. We "rst demonstrate that fuzzy c-means

clustering is capable of robust recovery of the unknown constellation. To perform Bayesian inference, the reconstructed

constellation is modeled by a discrete multiple-valued nonhomogenous spatial random "eld. For candidate modulations,

their corresponding random"elds are modeled o!-line. The unknown constellation shape is then classi"ed by an MLrule

based on the preceding model building phase. The algorithm is applicable to digital modulations of arbitrary size and

dimensionality. 2000 Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Zusammenfassung

Das Konstellationsdiagramm ist ein traditionelles und leistungsfaK higes Werkzeug fuK r den Entwurf und die Bewertung

digitaler Modulationsverfahren. In dieser Arbeit schlagen wir vor, die Konstellationsform als robuste Signatur zur

digitalen Modulationserkennung zu verwenden. Wir stellen die uK bertragene `Informationa durch die Geometrie der

Konstellation dar. Die empfangene Information ist dann die rekonstruierte Konstellationsform, welche durch Rauschen,

den Kanal und die EmpfaK ngerimplementierung deformiert ist. ZunaK chst demonstrieren wir, da{eine Gruppenbildung

mittels fuzzy c-Mittelwerten in der Lage ist, die unbekannte Konstellation robust zu rekonstruieren. Um Bayessche

Schlu{folgerungen durchfuK hren zu koK nnen, wird die rekonstruierte Konstellation durch ein diskretes, mehrwertiges,

nichthomogenes raK umliches Zufallsfeld modelliert. Die den in Frage kommenden Modulationen entsprechenden

Zufallsfelder werden im voraus modelliert. Die unbekannte Konstellationsform wird dann mittels einer ML-Regel

klassi"ziert, welche auf der vorhergenhenden Modellierungsphase beruht. Der Algorithmus eignet sich fuK r digitale

Modulationsverfahren beliebiger GroK {e und DimensionalitaK t. 2000 Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights

reserved.

Re2 sume2

Un diagramme de constellation est un outil traditionnel et puissant de conception et d'eH valuation d'une modulation

numeH rique. Dans ce travail, nous proposons l'utilisation de la forme de constellation comme signature robuste pour la

reconnaissance de modulations numeH riques. Nous repreH sentons l'information transmise par la geH omeH trie de la constellation.

0165-1684/00/$- see front matter 2000 Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

PII: S 0 1 6 5 - 1 6 8 4 ( 9 9 ) 0 0 1 2 7 - 9

A son tour, l'information rec7 ue est constitueH e par la forme de la constellation. qui est deH formeH e par le bruit, le canal et

l'impleH mentation du reH cepteur. Nous deH montrons tout d'abord qu'un clustering par l'algorithme c-means #ou est capable

de retrouver de fac7 on robuste une constellation inconnue. Pour e!ectuer une infeH rence BayeH sienne, la constellation

reconstruite est modeH liseH e par un champ aleH atoire spatial non-homoge` ne a` valeurs multiples discre` tes. Pour les

modulations candidates, leurs champs aleH atoires correspondants sont modeH liseH s horsligne. La forme de constellation

inconnue est ensuite classi"eH e par une re` gle ML baseH e sur la phase preH ceH dente de construction du mode` le. L'algorithme

est applicable a` des modulations numeH riques de taille et de dimensionnaliteH arbitraires. 2000 Published by Elsevier

Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Modulation classi"cation; Constellation; Digital modulation; Shape recognition

1. Introduction

Recognition of the modulation type of an un-

known signal provides valuable insight into its

structure, origin and properties. Automatic modu-

lation classi"cation is used for spectrum surveil-

lance and management, interference identi"cation,

military threat evaluation, electronic counter

measures, source identi"cation and many others.

For example, if the modulation type of an intercep-

ted signal is extracted, jamming can be carried out

more e$ciently by focusing all resources into vital

signal parameters. Other applications may include

signal source identi"cation. This is particularly ap-

plicable to wireless and modem standards where

di!erent services follow well-known modulation

standards. Signal constellation has been the tradi-

tional means for digital modulation design and

analysis. Among many other attributes, constella-

tion diagram provides a graphical insight into sig-

nal structure and the relationship among various

modulation states. Given a digitally modulated sig-

nal, its constellation can be obtained by projecting

individual modulation states onto a set of ortho-

gonal basis functions the number of which is deter-

mined by the dimensionality of the signal. The most

common constellations in use are two dimensional

which map the signal onto a pattern of ampli-

tude/phase states scattered on the 2D plane.

Past work on modulation recognition has prim-

arily used signal properties in time and/or fre-

quency domain to identify the underlying

modulation. In this work we recognize that if con-

stellations can uniquely identify a modulation stan-

dard, they should also be able to reveal the

underlying modulation of unknown nature. This

approach practically casts modulation recognition

into a shape matching problem. The reason behind

this statement is that the recovered constellation

has a shape that may only resemble the original

constellation. The departure fromthe library model

is caused by a variety of reasons including noise,

multipath, carrier and clock recovery errors and

a host of others. In this work we model the recon-

structed constellation by a multidimensional ran-

dom "eld and match it to a library of constellation

shapes using an ML decision rule. Simulation re-

sults show that constellation shape is a global,

reliable and stable modulation signature. Fig. 1 il-

lustrates the general concept.

2. Outline of the solution

It is important to spell out what modulation

recognition is, and as importantly, what it is not.

Picking up on a point "rst articulated by Liedtke

[8], modulation recognition is an intermediate step

on the path to full message recovery. As such, it lies

somewhere between low-level energy detection and

a full #edged demodulation. Therefore, correct re-

covery of the message per se is not an objective, or

even a requirement. In fact, it is conceivable to

experience very high BERs and high correct modu-

lation classi"cation at the same time. Case in point

is modulation types with -fold ambiguity for

which constellation maps onto itself for a rotation

of $2K/ rad. In a nondi!erentially encoded

system, such rotations can cause very large BERs.

What is stable, however, is constellation shape;

252 B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277

Fig. 1. In the proposed modulation recognition algorithm, transmitted information is the constellation shape. The problem is to infer

modulation type from the observation of a distorted constellation.

a signature that will be exploited throughout this

paper. This example also illustrates that modula-

tion classi"cation and symbol detection are poten-

tially two di!erent problems.

Constellation-based modulation identi"cation

depends on three main steps, (1) constellation shape

deformation modeling, (2) constellation reconstruc-

tion and (3) inference engine development. The ex-

tent of deformation of the constellation is strongly

determined by the underlying assumptions on the

channel as well as the receiver. In this work we rely

on standard toolboxes available to digital receivers

including baud rate, timing phase and carrier re-

covery. Carrier lock error, phase tracking loop

SNR and modulation classi"cation accuracy are

tied together in a single model. Multipath-induced

ISI, if present, is mitigated by appropriate channel

equalization prior to modulation recognition

stage[23]. One unique aspect of the approach here

is that there are no detection stages, i.e. no attempt

is made to perform a symbol-level detection. This

step is instead replaced by a corresponding stage

where the entire constellation, not the individual

symbols, is classi"ed in one shot. To classify the

underlying modulation, a statistical model of the

deformed constellation is needed. We have modeled

the received constellation by a nonhomogenous

multidimensional discrete random "eld. The last

step in the modulation identi"cation process is the

evaluation of an inference mechanismthat acts upon

the single observed constellation to make a decision.

Statistical modeling of the reconstructed constellation

allows for the implementation of a maximum likeli-

hood rule. The ML rule is essentially a shape recogni-

tion algorithm and has proved e!ective in other

applications[13]. Fig. 2 illustrates the above steps.

3. Previous work

Explicit use of constellation as a modulation

signature has been reported at least once before. In

a clever approach, Wood et al. [25] used Radon

transform to bring out the symmetry features of the

constellation. Closer examination of several other

techniques reveals an implicit use of constellation.

B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277 253

Fig. 2. Constellation shape matching paradigm.

Early on it was recognized that modulation classi-

"cation is a classi"cation problem well suited to

pattern recognition algorithms. A successful statist-

ical classi"cation requires the right set of features

extracted from the unknown signal. There have been

many attempts to extract such optimal feature. His-

tograms derived from functions like amplitude, in-

stantaneous phase, frequency or combinations

thereof have been used as feature vectors for classi-

"cation, [5,8,9]. Also of interest is the work of Ais-

bett [1] which considers cases with very poor SNR.

The current state of the art in modulation classi-

"cation is the decision theoretic approach using

appropriate likelihood functional or approxima-

tions thereof. Polydoros and Kim [15] derive

a quasi-log-likelihood functional for classi"cation

between BPSK and QPSK modulations. In a later

publication, Huang and Polydoros [8] introduce

a more general likelihood functional to classify

among arbitrary MPSK signals. They point out

that the S-classi"er of Liedtke, based on an ad hoc

phase-di!erence histogram, can be realized as

a noncoherent, synchronous version of their qLLR.

Statistical moment-based classi"er (SMBC) of

Solimon and Hsue [21] are also identi"ed as

special coherent version of qLLR. Wei and Mendel

[24] formulate another likelihood-based approach

to modulation classi"cation that is not limited to

any particular modulation class. Their approach is

the closest to a constellation-based modulation

classi"cation advocated here although they have

not made it the central thesis of their work. Carrier

phase and clock recovery issues are also not ad-

dressed. Chugg et al. [4] use an approximation of

log-ALF to handle more than two modulations

and apply it to classi"cation between OQPSK/

BPSK/QPSK. Lin and Kuo [11] propose a se-

quential probability ratio test in the context of

hypothesis testing to classify among several QAM

signals. Their approach is novel in the sense that

new data continuously updates the evidence.

Nonlinear operations on signals are probably the

most indigenous to communications theory but are

also ad hoc in many respects. For example,

a square-law classi"er produces bulges in the spec-

trum of a BPSK signal at twice the carrier fre-

quency. No such component appears for a QPSK

signal. Many have suggested this property to dis-

tinguish between the two. Square-law classi"er is

a special case of delay-and-multiply operation

r(t)r(t!A). The spectrum of this product can be

used as a harmonics detector. If energy is detected

at DC for A"0, but not at symbol rate for A"

half symbol rate, then the unknown modulation is

an OQPSK signal rather than a BPSK or QPSK

[13]. This approach is extended as the Mth law

nonlinearity and "ltering where the Mth power of

an MPSK signal produces a spectral bulge at Mf

.

Reichert [17] compiles these approaches under

nonlinear algorithms in modulation recognition.

There have been other approaches to modula-

tion classi"cation. Ta [22] uses the energy vectors

derived from wavelet packet decomposition as fea-

ture vectors to distinguish between ASK, PSK and

FSK modulation types. Hong and Ho [7] use

wavelet transform for modulation recognition.

Marinovich et al. [12] use singular value decompo-

sition to identify that part of the signal subspace

that separates the classes the most. They use this

approach to discriminate between MSK and

OQPSK signals. Beidas and Weber [3] use higher-

order statistics. The latter approach is applied to

MFSK signals only. Nandi and Azzouz [14] have

used neural nets for modulation classi"cation.

Their database is limited to 2/4/ASK/PSK/FSK. In

an earlier work they proposed using "ve key fea-

tures for discriminating among the same modula-

tion types. Recognition performance was reported

to be in excess of 90% at SNR"10 dB[2]. Yang et

al. [26] develop a log-likelihood function for M-ary

QAM signals that is based on the pdf of signal's

complex envelope.

254 B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277

4. Constellation recovery

Conventional receivers are designed to recover

transmitted bits of information. Here, we are not

interested in bit recovery. What we are interested in

is recovery of a global signature in the form of

constellation shape. Therefore, the main output of

the `receivera has to be the recovery of the constel-

lation. For proper implementation of the algo-

rithm, we need to rely on a number of standard

algorithms. They include methods for baud rate,

carrier phase and clock recovery as well as any

necessary channel equalization. The extent to

which these parameters can be successfully extrac-

ted from an `unknowna signal depends to some

degree on the a priori knowledge. Scenarios are

conceivable for a cooperative modulation recogni-

tion where the class of signals and their general

properties are known. One appropriate area for

modulation recognition is a `universala demodula-

tor where candidate modulation schemes are

known before hand. In a noncooperative setting,

some prior information may still be available

through intelligence or historical data. Other in-

formation may also be extracted with little or no

cooperation from the transmitter.

4.1. Model development

The focus in constellation-based modulation rec-

ognition is on the reconstructed constellation. To

achieve this goal, we must "rst layout a model for

the unknown modulation. Let the received signal be

modeled by arbitrary combinations of amplitude,

phase. There are no fundamental limitations to add

other dimensions such as frequency, however.

r(t)"Res(t)#n(t)

"Re

I

R

I

eFI

p(t!(k!1)

#n(t)

,

0(t("N

, (1)

where N is the number of symbols inside the obser-

vation interval , R

I

is kth symbol amplitude,

0

I

3(2/M)i, i"0,

2

, M!1, M is number of

phases,

is symbol duration, f

is carrier fre-

quency, 0

the basic baseband pulse de"ned over 0)t)

. R

I

and 0

I

are constants during a symbol peri-

od. Noise is white Gaussian with a two-sided spec-

tral density of N

"

/2. The complex envelope portion

of (1) is given by

r`(t, 0

)"

,

I

R

I

e'FI >F 'p(t!(k!1)

)

#R

L

(t)eFL 'R'. (2)

A correlation receiver, of the type shown in Fig. 1,

integrates over a symbol length to recover the

transmitted amplitude/phase information. If per-

formed over N symbols, the result is the recovered

scatter diagram. A typical receiver is confronted

with carrier and clock recovery errors. In the pres-

ent model, we are assuming the presence of a phase

tracking loop operating with a slowly varying (rela-

tive to symbol time) phase error 0

. The clock

recovery circuit can be of the early}late gate variety

where it is reasonable to assume that timing phase

error c is a small fraction of symbol time, random

and zero mean.

Let us now look at the recovery of the mth

symbol from the data stream shown in (2). Accord-

ing to (2), the mth symbol begins at t"(m!1)

.

Correlation receiver operating with a symbol tim-

ing error c generates

r`(0

, c)"r`

GK

(0

, c)#jr`

OK

(0

, c)

"

'KC'2

'KC'2

r`(t, 0

) dt

"

'KC'2

'KC'2

I

R

I

e'FI >F 'p(t!(k!1)

)

#R

L

(t)eFL 'R'

dt

m"1,

2

, N. (3)

Assuming that carrier lock error is stable for the

duration of a symbol

r`

K

(0

, c)

"

'K'2

'KC'2

R

K

e'FK >F 'p(t!(m!2)

) dt

B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277 255

Fig. 3. QPSK IQ scatter plot under carrier-noncoherent case

and random noise.

Fig. 4. QPSK IQ scatter plot under symbol-noncoherent case

and random noise.

#

'KC'2

'K'2

R

K

e'FK>FA 'p(t!(m!1)

) dt

#

2`

R

L

(t)eFL 'R'

"[c

R

K

eFK

#(1!c)

R

K

eFK

]eF

#noise 0)c):

. (4)

: controls the peak receiver symbol timing error

and is expressed as a fraction of symbol width.

Symbol timing error expands the integration inter-

val across at most two adjacent symbols. The

resulting ISI can be explained vectorially by the

addition of two vectors. The desired symbol R

K

eFK

is pulled away from its original location by the

adjacent symbol. The extent of departure, however,

is controlled by :. Clock recovery error a!ects

constellations in a di!erent way. Phase tracking

error represented by eF

introduces a rotation of

the symbol. This rotation has a number of modali-

ties. In a coherent receiver there is either no phase

error or if there is it is assumed to be known. This

constant phase o!set introduces a "xed, known

rotation of the entire constellation. For matching

purposes, the entire constellation must "rst be de-

rotated. Exploiting symmetry properties of many of

the constellations under study, it is also possible to

determine constellation orientation even if rotation

angle is not known [25]. Two other situations,

carrier-noncoherent and symbol-noncoherent situ-

ations have been proposed in the literature [15]. In

the carrier-noncoherent case, 0

stant during the observation interval, (Fig. 3).

Similar to the carrier-coherent case, constellation

will rotate but the angle of rotation changes from

one reconstruction to another. Under a symbol-

noncoherent scheme, 0

tion of a symbol only but varies slightly from sym-

bol to symbol. Repeated detection of the same

symbol sweeps an arc in the range of 0

(Fig. 4). As

shown in Fig. 1, a phase tracking loop keeps

0

dependency between the available SNR and the

performance of phase tracking loop. As SNR drops,

the variance of 0

tion shape recovery not only su!ers from increased

noise, the increasing phase error adds to the smear-

ing of the constellation vertices. We have studied

this issue in some detail later on.

Modulation recognition presented in this paper

parts company with the existing approaches at this

point. We will not be working directly with the

individual r`

K

to form a decision theoretic func-

tional. Instead, we will use them only to reconstruct

the constellation. The available data for constella-

tion reconstruction appears at the output of the

correlation receiver in the form of an N;2 vector

256 B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277

of measurements. The constellation of the received

signal is a multidimensional, multiclass random

process. The number of modulation states, their

positions as well as the dimensionality of the signal

space are, of course, unknown. Without loss of

generality, we will limit our discussion to two-

dimensional signals covering a large array of servi-

ces. However, there is no fundamental limit to

its extensions to higher dimensions. In fact, one

of the strengths of the proposed algorithm is this

scalability.

4.2. Clustering in the constellation space

Looking at the raw IQ scatter diagram of an

unknown modulation and recognizing that the en-

tire scatter may have come from a handful of

centers, the relevance of clustering emerges. The

method used here is fuzzy c-means [18]. This clus-

tering algorithm and many of its variants, such as

k-means, are minimum distance, minimum variance

iterative clustering algorithms. What the algorithm

needs as input are (1) the N;2 vector of measure-

ments at correlation detector output, (2) number of

expected clusters and (3) a termination threshold.

Using an appropriate distance metric, the classi"er

assigns a received vector r`

I

to the nearest cluster. At

the end of one iteration, each received modulation

vector is assigned to a modulation state. The pro-

cess iterates by reassigning received vectors to

other possible clusters with the goal of minimizing

an overall cost function. At the end of the process,

all N received symbols are assigned to their respect-

ive clusters. The centroids of the clusters de"ne the

reconstructed constellation. If clustering is repeated

over N di!erent symbols, the reconstructed shape

will look di!erent but similar to the one before.

Note that a priori information on the number of

modulation states is not necessary. To cover an

unknown number of modulation states, an initial

number larger than expected is speci"ed. A post-

processing merging step can eliminate clusters with

small membership. Knowledge of the number of

clusters, regardless of the underlying modulation

type, limits the search space in the follow up con-

stellation shape matching. For example, there is no

reason to match a 16 level modulation against

a library of modulations that have fewer or larger

than 16 states. What we have here is in e!ect

hierarchical recognition that screens modulation

types based on their number of states "rst.

4.3. Modeling reconstructed constellation shapes

De"ne "C

, C

`

,

2

, C

I

as K constellations

of expected modulations. The reconstructed con-

stellations are de"ned by "CK

, CK

`

,

2

, CK

)

.

Boldface notation indicates that the reconstructed

constellations are stochastic quantities with CK

H

as

a single realization of CK

H

. Consider an unknown

constellation C represented by M modulation

states u

I

; k"1,

2

, M. The output of fuzzy c-

means in response to C consists of M clusters

collectively referred to by "+

I

I

. Note that

I

contains signals that do not all necessarily be-

long to the kth modulation state. In general, mem-

bership of

I

may have originated from the

remaining k!1 modulation states resulting in

a mixture density function. Let N

IG

be the number

of vectors from the ith modulation state assigned to

the kth cluster and N

I

the total number of symbols

classi"ed to

I

. These numbers are generally ran-

dom but experiments have shown that the aggreg-

ate cluster membership remain stable down to

E

/N

"

&3 dB. The key piece of information de-

rived from

I

is the estimate of the kth modulation

state vector. This estimate is the sample mean

M

I

that is given by the weighted sum of the sample

means of sub clusters M

IG

.

M

I

"

+

G

N

IG

N

I

M

IG

,

var(M

I

)"

+

G

N

IG

N

I

`

var(M

IG

).

(5)

For high SNR cases, a large majority of vectors in

I

belong to the kth modulation state i.e.

N

II

N

IG

,iOk . Therefore, EM

I

converges to

u

I

. When SNR is low or modulation states are

seriously disturbed, N

II

N

IG

is generally not met

and a shift of M

I

fromu

I

occurs. This condition is at

the root of constellation shape deformation. What

is probably more critical is the stability of the

constellation shape under repeated reconstruction

attempts. This variability can be measured by the

variance of M

I

shown in (5). The variance of M

IG

is

B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277 257

Fig. 5. 10 reconstructions of a 16-QAM constellation at

E

/N

"

"10 dB. The original shape is accurately maintained.

Fig. 6. Reconstructed shape shows more departure from its orig-

inal con"guration but the 16-QAMstructure is still clearly visible.

Fig. 7. Decreasing E

/N

"

3 dB, has further impacted recon-

struction. However, vertex positions and the overall shape of the

reconstructed constellation still reveal a 16-QAM structure.

inversely proportional to the corresponding cluster

size. Therefore, with all other factors remaining

unchanged, the recovered modulation exhibit less

variability with increasing sample size or equiva-

lently longer observation interval. The movements

of constellation shape can be examined by observ-

ing a stack of sample reconstructions. The key

question at this point is how faithfully the original

constellation can be reconstructed from the re-

ceived signal? To examine this point, we have re-

constructed the received constellation of a square

16-QAM signal subject to Gaussian noise. Impact

of additional e!ects such as carrier lock will be

investigated in the experimental section. Multiple

copies of a 16-QAM constellation is rebuilt over an

observation interval several hundred symbols in

length. Each reconstruction, consisting of 16

vertices, is a single realization of the underlying

random "eld describing the noisy 16-QAM model.

Reconstructed constellations, if superimposed, gen-

erate an eye pattern-like shape. This pattern can then

be used to gauge the stability of the constellation

under progressively worsening channel conditions.

To illustrate this point, we have shown 10 recon-

structed constellations on top of the clustered IQ

components, (Figs. 5}7). An undisturbed 16-QAM

constellation will have a perfect alignment of lines

joining the vertices. The departure of constellation

shape from its nominal state results in a smearing

much like closing of the eye. This closing can be

258 B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277

Fig. 8. Raw IQ data corresponding to Fig. 7. The underlying

modulation is largely hidden.

used in a visual illustration of the robustness of the

constellation recovery.

Fuzzy c-means is run on the IQ data for

3 E

/N

"

's of 10, 5 and 3 dB. For 10 dB and above,

the reconstruction is virtually perfect. Even for

lower signal-to-noise ratios the basic shape of the

constellation is preserved. This is true down to 3 dB

for which few modulation recognition algorithms

perform satisfactorily. To underscore the role of

fuzzy c-means, we have also shown the raw IQ

scatter at E

/N

"

"3 dB in Fig. 8. Clearly, the

massive dispersion of data points hides the underly-

ing modulation.

5. Modulation recognition algorithm

At this point we have an algorithm for the recov-

ery of the constellation shape of the unknown

modulation. The recovered constellation is a single

realization from an as yet unspeci"ed random pro-

cess. To successfully extract the unknown modula-

tion, we need to complete two additional steps (1)

modeling of the reconstructed constellation shape

and (2) development of a shape-based decision metric.

5.1. Constellation shape modeling

Signal constellation is a discrete geometry. One

way to characterize this geometry is by a probabil-

ity mass function with zeros everywhere except on

modulation states. We can model the jth constella-

tion C

H

by the sum of spatial delta functions de"ned

over a discrete grid

C

H

(r)"

+H

G

o(r!u

HG

), j"1,

2

K,

o(r!u

HG

)"

1 ru

HG

,

0 rOu

HG

,

(6)

where r is the position vector and the ith signal

vector of the jth constellation is given by a position

vector u

HG

. Note that regardless of the dimensionality

of the constellation, C

H

(r) is both scalar and binary

so that for r"u

HK

only the mth term in (6) is one.

The reconstructed constellation has an identical

form. The di!erence is that the repeated reconstruc-

tion of the same constellation takes on a di!erent

shape each time. Collectively, they represent a ran-

dom "eld where any single reconstruction is simply

a sample function of the underlying random "eld.

The reconstruction model is similar to (6),

CK

H

(r)"

+H

G

o(r!*

HG

), j"1,

2

, K, (7)

where *

HG

is the estimate of the ith constellation

vertex u

HG

and is a random quantity. One inter-

pretation of *

HG

is that it is the estimate of the center

of the ith cluster of the jth modulation. Note that

CK

H

(r) can be a multiple valued random "eld. This is

clear from (7) since every term has a "nite probabil-

ity of equaling 1. There is also a more graphical

explanation shown in Fig. 9. For computational

purposes, we partition the constellation space into

a square grid. The location of a grid element is

speci"ed by vector r"r

"

. In an undisturbed con-

stellation, there is at most one modulation state per

resolution element. However, since *

HG

's are ran-

dom, it is possible to have more than one recon-

structed vertex per resolution element. Therefore,

CK

H

(r

"

) can theoretically take on any value from the

set 0,

2

, M

H

. However, to have CK

H

(r

"

)"M

H

, all

the reconstructed vertices must lie inside the box

B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277 259

Fig. 9. Dividing the signal space into a grid, each resolution

element in the original modulation space (left) can contain just

one modulation state. Reconstructed vertices, on the other hand,

have random positions thus may move to adjacent slots giving

rise to a multiple valued, scalar random "eld.

Fig. 10. In the reconstruction space, there is more than one

way for a resolution element to contain multiple vertices. On

the left, two recovered vertices originate from the neighbor-

ing modulation states. On the right, they are coming from

farther way. Clearly, the left reconstruction is more likely than

the right.

speci"ed by r

"

. This is a very unlikely, but possible,

situation.

At a speci"c location r"r

"

, CK

H

(r

"

), is the sum of

M

H

binary random variables with the following

statistics:

Po(r

"

!*

HG

)"1"P*

HG

"r

"

"P

HG

(r

"

), (8)

where p

HG

(r

"

) is the probability that the ith recon-

structed vertex falls on a speci"c position r

"

. Fi-

nally, as a multiple valued discrete process taking

one of M

H

positive integers, the pdf of the recon-

structed constellation can be expressed as

p(CK

H

(r)C

H

)"

+H

K"

P

HK

(r)o(CK

H

(r)!m), j"1,

2

, K,

P

HK

(r)"PCK

H

(r)"mC

H

,

(9)

where P

HK

(r) is the probability of having m re-

covered modulation states inside a single resolution

element at r. A training phase is required prior to

the classi"cation step. By histograming the number

of recovered constellation vertices within each res-

olution element, the spatial statistics of constella-

tion shape can be constructed. These pdf's are

obviously position-dependent. Therefore, CK

H

(r) is

a nonhomogenous process with a spatially depen-

dent mean. Clearly, the mean of CK

H

(r) is higher for

r close to the original modulation states. As shown

in Fig. 9, there can be more than one vertex per

resolution element. The interesting point is that

there are more than one way of realizing this possi-

bility. This idea is illustrated in

Fig. 10 showing two hypothetical reconstruc-

tions. The top-right resolution element contains

two modulation states that have been incorrectly

assigned. However, each incorrect assignment

arises from di!erent scenarios and each scenario

occurs with a di!erent probability. This is similar to

symbol detection error where any symbol can be

mistaken for any other although some errors are

more likely than others. There are (+H

K

) ways that

m modulation states can fall inside a resolution

element at r

"

. If each such occurrence happened

with equal probability, CK

H

(r) would have been a

binomial random process. However, CK

H

(r) is de-

pendent on the location r in the constellation

space. For example, in a 16-QAM constellation,

P(*

"

"r

"

) is di!erent from P(*

`

"r

"

). The reason

is that *

"

and *

`

, the estimates of the fourth and

eighth modulation states, are drawn from di!erent

distributions. Similarly, P(*

"

"r

"

) is di!erent from

P(*

"

"r

random "eld model above is nonstationary one.

For example, the ensemble mean of the process at

r

"

, CK

H

(r

"

), computed across the stack of recon-

structed constellations, is a location-dependent

quantity.

CK

H

(r

"

)"

+H

K"

mP

HK

(r

"

), (10)

260 B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277

CK

H

(r

"

) can be interpreted as a spatial mass function;

high on locations close to the original constellation

vertices. Although CK

H

(r) is not by itself a su$cient

statistics for modulation classi"cation, it is a factor

in matching an unknown modulation type to those

in the library.

Modeling of the reconstructed constellation pre-

sented above is general. It does not depend on the

dimensionality of the signal or its modulation type.

Constellation reconstruction and its modeling con-

stitute two components of the proposed modula-

tion classi"cation. The shape of the received

constellation is essentially the equivalent of the

su$cient statistics in the form of LLR or qLLR

proposed elsewhere. The third component in this

chain is a shape classi"cation engine.

5.2. ML rule for constellation shape classixcation

To implement ML rule for the classi"cation of

the unknown modulation, we need two pieces of

information (1) the statistical model of the observa-

tion and (2) a single measurement from the obser-

vation. Given an observation vector X, the generic

form of a Bayes classi"er is given by

P(c

H

X)"

P(Xc

H

)P(c

H

)

p(X)

, (11)

the most likely population cH is given by

cH"arg max

H

P(c

H

X).

Using CK as the single unknown observation we

have

P(C

H

CK)"

P(CKC

H

)P(C

H

)

p(CK)

. (12)

The conditional shape density functions are

precomputed during the training phase and prior

probabilities are considered equal. In order to

evaluate the conditional density function for a spe-

ci"c observation CK, a representation for CK is

needed. CK is de"ned by M vectors that are re-

covered by the constellation reconstruction mod-

ule. A representation for CK is given by the following

joint event:

CK"CK(r

)"1, CK(r

`

)"1,

2

, CK(r

+

)"1. (13)

The shape density function of the jth constella-

tion evaluated for CK is then given by

p(CKC

H

)"

+

_

G

p(CK(r

G

)C

H

), j31,

2

, K. (14)

A log-likelihood function derived from the above

decides the most likely modulation type based on

the shape of the reconstructed constellation.

C

H

"arg max

H

+

G

log[p(CK(r

G

)C

H

)]

,

j31,

2

, K. (15)

Let us elaborate on (15). The model library consists

of K expected modulations each identi"ed by

a unique constellation. For each modulation type,

a shape model for the reconstructed constellation is

developed using (9). To identify an unknown modu-

lation type, the underlying constellation is ex-

tracted and represented by M recovered vertex

positions. What is being maximized in (15) is the

summation of M amplitudes. These amplitudes

come from M positions on the conditional density

surfaces of candidate constellations in (9). The con-

stellation model for which (15) is maximized is the

ML estimate of the unknown modulation.

5.3. Role of grid size in constellation shape modeling

Random "eld modeling of the recovered constel-

lation is constructed on a discrete grid structure

superimposed on the constellation space. As shown

in Fig. 10, the size and shape of the grid has a

signi"cant impact on the underlying model param-

eters and probability distributions of vertices. For

example, the probability that a reconstructed

modulation state falls within a resolution element is

greatly a!ected by the size of the resolution ele-

ments. Similarly, there is an interaction among the

number of modulation states and grid element size.

Too large a grid size will most likely not accurately

model constellations with a large number of

vertices whereas too small a grid size will generate

unnecessary computational load and a sparse den-

sity function. In this section we present a formal

methodology for discretizing the constellation

space and provide some experimental evidence for

choosing the appropriate grid size.

B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277 261

The problem we have in constructing a random

"eld model for the recovered constellations is sim-

ilar to the estimation of the probability density

function of randomdata. The conceptually simplest

method of building the density function is to con-

struct a histogram. Doing so however, requires the

selection of bin sizes, shapes and numbers. A formal

approach to histogram construction is Parzen es-

timator [6]. Let p(xc

G

) be the unknown class con-

ditional density. The information gained about p at

x after observing a measurement x

H

can be mea-

sured by a kernel k(x, x

H

) centered at x

H

. The kernel

peaks at x

H

and drops, or stays constant, for data

points farther away. Consider a multidimensional

data set of population size n. The estimate of the

underlying density function at point x can be writ-

ten by

p( (xc

G

)"

1

n

G

LG

H

k(x, x

H

). (16)

Note that contribution of neighboring data

points to the estimate at x is controlled by the

support of the kernel. The wider the base, the larger

the contribution of farther data points. This leads

to a density estimate that is smooth and does not

capture the detail of true density shape. Conversely,

a narrow kernel support leads to an estimate that is

too erratic because the small support base may

include few or no data points. This is the kind of

problem we face in our density estimation here.

Too large a grid size (kernel support) will smear the

density function and may not pick up all the modu-

lation states present in the received signal. Too

narrow a grid will lead to many empty resolution

elements and a spiky estimate.

The key questions are that what shape should the

kernel take and how large should they be? Pro-

posed shapes have been Gaussian, hyperspheric

and hypercubic, among others. For simplicity of

the implementation and low computational cost we

have adopted the widely used hypercubic kernel

de"ned by

k(x, x

H

)"

(2j)B foro(x, x

H

))j,

0 foro(x, x

H

)'j,

(17)

where o is the Chebychev distance, j is the base of

support and d is data dimensionality. The piece-

wise constant nature of the kernel as de"ned in (17)

produces a density estimate that is essentially pro-

portional to the number of data points at distance

j or less from x. The choice of j is ultimately an

empirical one. For a given dimensionality, j varies

in inverse proportion to the sample size n. For

small n, j needs to be large to include more data

points. Conversely, for large data sets, j needs to be

small to capture details. Parzen estimation adopted

here proposes a kernel support base given by

j"<

"

/(n where <

"

is the initial grid size and n is

the size of the data set [19].

We will now elaborate on the random "eld

model building phase of this work. The starting

point is the reconstructed constellation vertices for

a speci"c modulation class. For the sake of

example, consider a 16-QAM modulation subject

to strong additive Gaussian noise. Strong noise has

the added impact of absorbing other channel and

receiver disturbances. Repeated reconstructions of

the constellation of this 16-QAM signal de"ne

a random "eld consisting of 16 points per realiz-

ation. These vertices are generated by the fuzzy

c-means module described earlier. For implementa-

tion purposes, the ensemble of reconstructed con-

stellations are mapped onto a 64;64 discrete grid.

In e!ect, each reconstructed modulation state be-

comes a binary pixel on a 64;64 digital image. To

implement Parzen estimation technique, we use the

hypercubic kernel in (17). To select the initial cell

size <

"

, we start with the premise that the number

of cells must at least be equal to the number

of recovered modulation states. Any fewer and

we may not be able to capture the constellation

density function with su$cient detail. Therefore,

<

"

)64`/M where M is the constellation size. For

a 16-QAM signal on a 64;64 grid, the initial

kernel base <

"

is a 16;16 cell. To implement

Parzen estimate, each cell must be further sub-

divided into smaller cells to capture the details of

the distribution of individual vertices. In the

modeling phase, we have used 4096 points per

constellation resulting in 256 data points per ver-

tex. The support base for the kernel within each cell

is given by j"<

"

/(n where n"256. Therefore,

Parzen window size used to capture the density

function of individual vertices is a 4;4 cell. For

constellations with a di!erent size, the initial cell

262 B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277

Fig. 11. Estimated pdf of a 16-QAM random "eld model at E

/N

"

"0 dB. Cell sizes used for model reconstruction are 2;2 pixels on

a 64;64 pixels grid. The 16 modulation states are not as distinct as expected.

size may not work out to be a true square or cover

the 64;64 grid completely. For QPSK the initial

cell size is 32;32 but for 8-PSK cell size is not

a power of 2. In such cases we pick the smallest

power of 2 that is closets to <

"

.

Parzen windowis not without its limitations. For

example, a case may be made for a variable-size

kernel base; large for dense data locations and

small otherwise. This is in fact the k-NN approach

to density estimation where cell size is varied to

contain a "xed, but unspeci"ed, number of points.

However, we are replacing one ad hoc parameter

with another. Parzen estimation is a well-estab-

lished method and has worked well in our simula-

tions as well.

To investigate the impact of grid size on random

"eld model construction and classi"cation accu-

racy, we chose two test candidates, 16-QAM and

V.29. The raw data generated for each model con-

sists of a total of 4096 realizations (256 points per

cluster) of each constellation. Random "eld model

construction is then performed using three di!erent

cell sizes; 2;2, 4;4 and 8;8. The "rst observation

is that for E

/N

"

down to 5 dB, classi"cation accu-

racy is not a!ected by the grid size. For such

E

/N

"

, modulation states are de"ned by clusters

that retain their separability for all three cell sizes.

No change in error rates are observed. We then

lowered E

/N

"

to 0 dB at which point cell size

begins to have an impact on classi"cation rate. The

estimated pdf's of a 16-QAM for three di!erent cell

size are shown in Figs. 11}13. The 2;2 cell size

produces a spiky pdf estimate where the expected

16 peaks are not readily apparent. At the other

extreme, the 8;8 cells generate an estimate that

lacks su$cient resolution to identify all 16 vectors

and may not be able to discern constellations of

similar geometry. The plot is simply too smoothed

out. The 4;4 grid size seems to be a happy middle

ground with added de"nition around most of 16

modulation centers. The key evidence is the inter-

actions between classi"cation error rate and grid

B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277 263

Fig. 12. Grid size is increased to 4;4. Note that pdf is showing more de"nition around the original modulation states. Peaks are more

prominent and drop o! more noticeably. This behavior should help with identi"cation.

size. To investigate this issue, 16-QAM is matched

against V.29 at E

/N

"

of 0 dB. The probability of

correctly classifying a known 16-QAM signal is

then estimated using random "eld models pre-

viously constructed. After 1000 iterations, cor-

roborating Figs. 11}13, correct classi"cation rate

increases from 90% for 2;2 cells to 96.3% for 4;4

then declines to 81% for 8;8 cells (Fig. 14). For the

sample sizes used here, a 4;4 cell size was also

predicted by the Parzen estimator.

There might be arguments for choosing other cell

shapes, such as wedges or hypercones, to match the

geometry of the constellation. We have concluded

that rectangular cells, even for nonrectangular con-

stellations, perform well. In addition, Chebyshev

distances can be implemented more e$ciently on

a rectangular discrete grid. To investigate this issue

we considered two nonrectangular modulation

geometries. The question is how does a rectangular

grid interact with and impact classi"cation accu-

racy where decision boundaries are not aligned

with the grid structure. To investigate this phe-

nomena, we picked two circular modulations (1)

8-PSK and (2) V.29

}

fallback. V.29

}

fallback is V.29

dialed back to 7200 bps and shown in Fig. 21. Both

8-PSK and V.29

}

fallback are circular 8-level

modulations but di!er in the number of constella-

tion rings. Again we picked a low E

/N

"

of 0 dB for

both cases. The simple scatter diagram after 256

observations per symbol are shown in Figs. 15 and

16. Using Parzen estimation, random "eld

modeling portion for each constellation shape is

completed using three di!erent cell sizes of 2;2,

4;4 and 8;8. The 8-PSK density function esti-

mates are shown in Figs. 17}19 respectively. The

trend observed previously is also evident here.

A 2;2 grid size generates pdf models that are too

busy and without signi"cant markers at the

8 modulation states. The 4;4 cell size shows more

de"nition but 8;8 is too smoothed out. In order to

264 B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277

Fig. 13. Grid size is increased to 8;8. pdf has smoothed out considerably losing necessary de"nition around cluster centers. The large

footprint of cells will not be able to distinguish other modulations of similar construct if their vertices happen to fall inside the large 8;8

base.

gauge the impact of grid size on classi"cation accu-

racy we ran 1000 simulations to decide between

a known 8-PSK in the presence of V.29

}

fall

back. The result was that the number of times the

8-PSK signal was correctly classi"ed was exactly

1000 out of 1000 iterations. More remarkably, the

choice of rectangular grids and varying sizes made

absolutely no di!erence. Classi"er performed as

well for a 2;2 grid as it did for 8;8. The explana-

tion for this behavior goes to the root of the classi-

"cation algorithm. As a shape-based algorithm,

geometric dissimilarities between competing con-

stellation shapes are fully exploited. In this case

even though both constellations are of the same

size, V.29

}

fallback di!ers from 8-PSK by the place-

ment of modulation states on two separate circles.

This dissimilarity has canceled whatever ill-e!ects

grid size and shape may have had on the process.

Based on above investigation, we have selected

a 4;4 cell size for the rest of the experimental

section.

6. Experimental results

We will test the proposed algorithm on three

fronts (1) recognition of two modulation types of

equal size (2) recognition among three di!erent size

modulations and (3) recognition of two equal size

modulations in the presence of carrier phase lock

error as well as Gaussian noise. 4;4 cell sizes are

used throughout.

6.1. V.29

}

fallback vs. 8-PSK

In this subsection we will match two circular

8-level modulations; 8-PSK vs. a 7200 bits/s V.29.

V.29 itself is a 9600 bits/s. standard using a 16-

QAM constellation in the con"guration shown in

Fig. 20. There is an 8-level `fallbacka provision for

V.29 shown in Fig. 21.

Constellation shape matching has to be scale-

invariant. However, signals are received with vary-

ing power levels. Therefore, an energy normalization

B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277 265

Fig. 14. Grid size impact on correct classi"cation rate of 16-QAM in the presence of V.29. To arrive at these results 1000 test 16-QAM

and V.29 at E

/N

"

of 0 dB were generated and ran through the classi"er. In agreement with Figs. 11}13, the 4;4 cell size proved to be

most accurate. The low resolution 8;8 grid had the most di$culty distinguishing between 16-QAM and V.29.

Fig. 15. Raw scatter diagram for an 8-PSK modulation.

Fig. 16. Raw scatter diagram for V.29

}

fallback. Original modu-

lation states are completely smeared.

266 B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277

Fig. 17. pdf of the random "eld model of an 8-PSK constellation at E

/N

"

"0 dB using 2;2 cell sizes. The base is 64;64. Surface is

spiky and erratic with no clear de"nition around original vertices.

step is used as a preprocessing operation. At the

output of this stage all competing constellations

will have a unit average energy. Statistical descrip-

tions of the random "eld models were generated as

described in Section 5.3. For the recognition step,

1000 iterations of the unknown signal is processed

through the constellation reconstruction algorithm

and a single constellation is recovered. Following

this step, a decision is made on the modulation type

based on (15).

Fig. 22 shows the probability of correctly identi-

fying the modulation type of an 8-PSK signal for

E

/N

"

ranging from negative 5}25 dB. It is signi"-

cant that the 90% correct classi"cation threshold is

crossed at E

/N

"

"0 dB. This performance is even

more noteworthy considering the similarity of 8-

PSK and V.29

}

fallback both in the number of

modulation states as well as the circularity of their

respective constellations. The di!erence of course

arises from the fact that the 8-PSK is a single

amplitude signal. Therefore, in implementing (15),

the corresponding decision metric will pick up

values from the distribution of V.29

}

fallback where

no signi"cant amplitudes exist.

6.2. Multiple size modulation classixcation

A constellation-centric modulation recognition

is a two-layer operation; constellation recovery fol-

lowed by its identi"cation. There is a great deal of

information recovered in the "rst phase of this

operation even before a "nal identi"cation is made.

One piece of evidence is the number of modulation

states and their relative positions. If we are looking

for an 8 phase modulation, then this piece of in-

formation is already available at the end of constel-

lation reconstruction. Matching can be done with

only a subset of library modulations that meet the

B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277 267

Fig. 18. Same as Fig. 17 except for using 4;4 cells. Peaks show more de"nition.

8-modulation state prerequisite. Nevertheless, to

gauge the performance of the algorithm in a mixed

size modulation environment, a library consisting

of three di!erent size modulations, QPSK, 8-PSK

and 16-QAM constellations is constructed. To

generate correct classi"cation rates, signals of

`unknowna modulations are put through the clas-

si"cation rule in (15) and results are shown in Fig.

23. Recognition rates '90% are achieved at

E

/N

"

of 5 dB and above. One problem with

matching modulations of di!erent size is that one

constellation may be a subset of another, e.g.

QPSK and 8-PSK. Such scenarios are potentially

more di$cult to resolve. Take the reconstructed

constellation of a QPSKsignal. The decision metric

in (15) will have four terms coming from the QPSK

constellation model and four terms from the 8-PSK

model. But the four terms arising from the 8-PSK

model are from the same locations. How would

then a decision in favor of QPSK result? The an-

swer is although the four locations are the same, the

amplitudes of the corresponding distributions are

di!erent. It is this disparity between constellation

model amplitudes that makes correct decision in

favor of QPSK still possible.

6.3. Impact of carrier phase lock error

The phase tracking error incorporated into the

received signal model in (1) is an additional factor

displacing the recovered modulation state from its

nominal position. The existence of this error has an

adverse e!ect on signal detection above and be-

yond random noise. It is therefore expected that

modulation recognition performance could also

su!er. Performance of PLLs in estimating the

phase of the carrier is a well-studied subject. In the

context of modulation recognition, we are interest-

ed in the variance of phase estimate and its relation-

ship with noise power particularly at low SNRs.

Under small angle approximation, the steady-state

variance of the tracked phase is proportional to

268 B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277

Fig. 19. Same as Fig. 18 except for using 8;8 cells. Peaks are more smeared than Fig. 18 hence may have di$culty recognizing similarly

con"gured constellations due to lack of resolution.

Fig. 20. V.29 constellation model.

Fig. 21. The fallback rate (7200 bps) of V.29.

loop bandwidth or inversely proportional to SNR

[16]. When small error angle assumption is no

longer valid, nonlinear PLL model shows that in

a "rst-order loop, phase error "0!0K follows

the following density function [20]:

p()"

exp(j cos )

2I

"

(j)

, (18)

B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277 269

Fig. 22. Probability of correct classi"cation of 8-PSK signal in

the presence of V.29

}

fallback. Both modulations are 8-level with

circular constellations.

Fig. 23. Correct classi"cation rates for modulations with un-

equal number of states. Recognition rates exceed 90% for E

/N

"

of 5 dB and higher.

where j is the loop signal-to-noise ratio. Variance

of has direct bearing on the quality of the recon-

structed constellation. Since we are performing

constellation matching at varying SNRs, what is

important to know is how phase tracking error is

a!ected by the available SNR. Fig. 24 shows the 3D

plot of phase tracking error density function vs.

phase error and SNR. SNR range covers both the

linear and nonlinear portions of PLL operation.

Fig. 25 shows slices of this graph. As expected, the

density function tightens up as SNR is increased.

It is well known that at SNRs above 3, the

nonlinear and linear PLL models coincide. In this

region variance of the phase error is equal to the

inverse SNR. For lower SNRs the linear model is

no longer applicable. However, exact performance

curves relating phase variance to SNR for "rst-

order PLL are available [16]. In order to use these

curves, we "rst relate SNR to E

/N

"

. For multi-

phase/amplitude modulations,

N

"

"

"

S

N

"

#:,

:"10 log

"

(2/log

`

M) dB

(19)

For M"16 which is being looked at here we have

N

"

"

"

S

N

"

!3. (20)

The border case of SNR"3 translates to

E

/N

"

"1.77 dB which in turn corresponds to

a phase error variance of 0.33 rad` or standard

deviation of 333. At SNR"0 dB (E

/N

"

"

!3 dB), the nonlinear model predicts a phase

error variance of 1.6 rad` or standard deviation of

723. Table 1 shows phase tracking error variance vs.

E

/N

"

obtained from density slices of Fig. 25.

Note that error variance of 1.6 rad` at E

/N

"

of

!3 dB directly coincides with results in [16].

However, Table 1 also shows that a more accurate

boundary separating linear and nonlinear PLL

modes occurs at E

/N

"

"4 dB. For this value, the

corresponding SNR is 5 which is close to the in-

verse of phase error variance. Either way, such

large phase tracking errors coupled with random

noise will make correct detection in high-density

constellations very di$cult. Question is how will

the combination of carrier lock error and random

noise impact constellation recovery? To simulate

270 B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277

Fig. 24. 3D plot of the density function of carrier phase tracking error "0!0K [22] vs. SNR and phase tracking error.

this condition we use a 16-QAM constellation and

subject it to phase lock error that is now tied to the

prevailing E

/N

"

. The starting point is the lin-

ear/nonlinear boundary at E

/N

"

"4 dB and its

corresponding phase lock error variance. For each

simulation we use 800 symbols subjected to ran-

dom phase variations that are drawn from (18).

Results show that carrier lock error has a signi-

"cant impact on lowering the quality of the

reconstructed constellation. Fig. 26 shows 10 re-

constructions of a single 16-QAM constellation at

E

/N

"

"4 dB with o

(

"27.33. The recovered

vertices are shown with black circles and are super-

imposed on one copy of clustered IQ diagram.

Figures similar to the above are produced using

E

/N

"

of 4 through and 15 dB (Figs. 26}29). For

each case the phase error is drawn from (18) using

the corresponding SNR. Inspection of these "gures

isolates the impact of carrier phase tracking error

on constellation recovery. For example, Figs. 6 and

27 are identical except for the presence of carrier

lock error. Fig. 6 which assumes perfect lock pro-

duces a very usable constellation whereas the re-

covered shape in Fig. 27 shows a marked departure

from its nominal position. This is not unexpected

because o

(

"213 in a 16-level modulation is a very

signi"cant disturbance both in symbol detection

performance as well as modulation recognition.

Constellation shape matching can be observed

by inserting constellations derived from unknown

signals and matching them against a 16-QAM

model. For example, we can perform a visual shape

matching using a distorted V.29 as the `unknowna

modulation. Distortion agents are random noise

with E

/N

"

"15 dB and o

(

"73. These numbers

are consistent with Fig. 29. Evaluation of (15) can

be graphically demonstrated by superimposing the

recovered V.29 on the 16-QAM constellation

model (Fig. 30). The decision function evaluated for

this case rejected 16-QAM as a possible modula-

tion. The opposite result is obtained for an un-

known modulation type of 16-QAM when used in

the 16-QAM constellation model (Fig. 31). Clearly,

lower E

/N

"

accompanied by larger carrier phase

lock error will degrade the performance. For

example, the recovered 16-QAM constellation did

B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277 271

Fig. 25. Slices of Fig. 24 showing p() vs. phase error for running SNR's. Density functions clearly tighten up showing reduced error

variance for increasing SNR.

Table 1

Impact of signal-to-noise ratio on phase tracking error perfor-

mance

E

/N

"

(dB) o`

(

(rad`) o

(

(deg.)

!3 1.6 72.5

0 0.76 50.09

3 0.3 31.3

4 0.22 27.3

6 0.13 21.07

9 0.06 14.6

not produce a substantially larger decision function

than V.29 when both are matched against the

16-QAM model shown in Fig. 26. The reason of

course is the wide shape model variance at low

SNR and high phase error.

7. Comparison with previous work

There are many existing results in modulation

recognition. It turns out, however, that comparing

our performance levels with published results is not

straightforward. There are a number of reasons for

this: (1) There are no standard digital modulation

databases that the author is aware of. Hence, di!er-

ent authors have applied their algorithms to cases

of their own choosing. (2) Correct classi"cation rate

for a speci"c modulation type is strongly a!ected

by what other modulations are in the library. (3)

Classi"cation rates are frequently reported as

a function of signal strength relative to that of white

noise. There is no universally agreed upon index,

however. Examples that have been used in the

literature are SNR [10], symbol SNR [11], CNR

[21] and E/N

"

[4]. These indices are clearly related

272 B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277

Fig. 26. 10 reconstructions of a 16-QAM constellation subject to E

/N

"

"4 dB and o

(

"27.33. Each reconstruction results in 16

recovered modulation states for a total of 160 black circles. Wide dispersion of these circles indicates poor shape matching performance.

The impact of carrier phase lock error is dramatically illustrated by a comparison with Fig. 6 which assumes perfect tracking.

Fig. 27. Same as Fig. 26 except for using E

/N

"

"6 dB and o

(

"213. Tightening of cluster centers are expected.

B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277 273

Fig. 28. Phase lock error standard deviation is reduced to 10.23 at E

/N

"

"12 dB.

Fig. 29. For E

/N

"

"15 dB, o

(

can be reduced to 73. The variance of the shape of the recovered constellation is considerably reduced.

274 B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277

Fig. 30. At E

/N

"

"15 dB and o

(

"73, a single received V.29

fails to match the 16-QAM model. White circles indicate the

reconstruction of the unknown constellation.

Fig. 31. A received 16-QAM modulation is a much closer "t to

the 16-QAM model even under high noise and large phase lock

error.

but unless classi"cation results are reconciled, nu-

merical comparisons will be di$cult.

The modern school of modulation recognition,

including this work, has relied on Bayesian infer-

ence in a variety of ways, most often LR or quasi-

LR tests. Polydodors and Kim [15] report 100%

correct classi"cation rate for BPSK, vs. QPSK for

SNR'0 dB. Dominguez [5], uses a 62-dimen-

sional feature vector extracted from 4PSK and re-

ports a 93% accuracy for SNR between 20 and

40 dB. Soliman's moment-based classi"er [21] for

8-PSK achieves its best rate of 99% for CNR of

0 dB. They report an overall rate of 90% at `sym-

bola-CNR of 0 dB. Competing modulation types

are CW, BPSK, QPSK and 8-PSK. Earlier, they

point out that moments area actually not very

sensitive to the number of modulation states and

hence not a reliable discriminate. Ta's wavelet

packets [22] achieves a combined 91% accuracy

for ASK, vs. PSK, vs. FSK. Huang and Polydoros

[8] report (50% for 8-PSK vs. 16-PSK at SNR of

0 dB, 70% at 10 dB. Beidas and Weber [3] test

their higher-order statistics approach on only

MFSK and report '90% rate for `per symbola

SNR of 5 dB. Marinovich's [12] SVD technique

exhibits a threshold e!ect at low SNR. In a match

of MSK vs. OQPSK, they report 80% performance

at `ENRa of 5 dB. Chugg [4] ML-based technique

claims 100% accuracy in a match between BPSK

and OQPSK for E/N

"

of 0 dB. Lin and Kuo's [11]

sequential LR test classi"es 3 8-phase modulation

types: 8-PSK, V.29(7200 bps) and Star 8-QAM. For

a symbol SNR of 5 dB, they report 80% correct

classi"cation rate for 8-PSK, 68% for Star 8 and

62% for V.29(7200 bps). The poor showing of the

V.29

}

fallback is attributed to the overlap of phase

and amplitude levels with both 8-PSK and Star-

QAM; two amplitudes and 8 phases. We have also

encountered similar problems in our approach

where a constellation is a subset of another, QPSK

vs. 8-PSK.

Comparable results using the proposed constel-

lation shape matching can be gleaned from Fig. 22.

We have been able to correctly recognize two sim-

ilar modulations (8-PSK vs. V.29

}

fallback) with

93% accuracy at E

/N

"

"0 dB. This compares

B.G. Mobasseri / Signal Processing 80 (2000) 251}277 275

with 62% at symbol SNR of 5 dB reported in [11].

In the same work, V.29

}

fallback recognition

rate does not cross over the 90% range until

symbol SNR of 9 dB. Perfect synchronization is

assumed. In Fig. 19, we are showing 93% accuracy

at E

/N

"

"3 dB for V.29 in the presence of /8

phase lock error and 99% at E

/N

"

"5 dB.

At SNR"5 dB, correct classi"cation rate for a

16-QAM vs. 32-QAM is reported to be in the 50%

[7].

8. Conclusions

We have presented an approach to digital modu-

lation recognition that uses the shape of the rebuilt

constellation as the key signature. There is ample

evidence that shape, as a global signature, is

a stable feature of an unknown signal and more

resilient to channel e!ects and receiver imperfec-

tions. Beyond that, casting signal classi"cation as

shape recognition provides a more intuitive ap-

preciation of the process that is otherwise absent.

The algorithm also has the underpinnings of Bayes

inference assuring the desired optimality. By virtue

of being a constellation-centric approach, analog

modulations are not covered. For the same reason,

digital modulations of arbitrary size and dimen-

sions fall within the parameters of the proposed

algorithm.

Acknowledgements

The author gratefully acknowledges the support

of O$ce of Naval Research under grant N00014-

94-1-1052.

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