Analysis of and Techniques for Adaptive Equalization for Underwater Acoustic Communication

Ballard Blair, Ph.D., 2011
James Preisig, Advisor

Underwater wireless communication is quickly becoming a necessity for applications in ocean science, defense, and homeland security. Acoustics remains the only practical means of accomplishing long-range communication in the ocean.  The acoustic communication channel is fraught with difficulties including limited available bandwidth, long delay-spread, time-variability, and Doppler spreading.  These difficulties reduce the reliability of the communication system and make high data-rate communication challenging.  Adaptive decision feedback equalization is a common method to compensate for distortions introduced by the underwater acoustic channel.  Limited work has been done thus far to introduce the physics of the underwater channel into improving and better understanding the operation of a decision feedback equalizer.   This thesis examines how to use physical models to improve the reliability and reduce the computational complexity of the decision feedback equalizer. The specific topics covered by this work are: how to handle channel estimation errors for the time varying channel, how to use angular constraints imposed by the environment into an array receiver, what happens when there is a mismatch between the true channel order and the estimated channel order, and why there is a performance difference between the direct adaptation and channel estimation based methods for computing the equalizer coefficients.