Software-Defined Wireline Communication

This project will enable the continued proliferation of communication technology by integrating robust and reconfigurable digital signal processing (DSP) into our highest speed communication links over copper wires and optical fibre. Multi-Gbps transceiver solutions generally rely upon analog signal processing to condition the digital waveforms, compensating for channel impairments and eliminating noise introduced along the way. However, advances in DSP have the potential to enable a revolution in this space. Our vision is of reconfigurable analog front-end circuits for wireline communication followed by a flexible DSP that can easily be used for efficient communication at 100+ Gbps over a wide variety of channels – a “software-defined” receiver for our highest-speed communication links, roughly two orders of magnitude faster than the software-defined wireless links that are currently the subject of much research elsewhere.

Many of the individual building blocks required have been demonstrated in research labs, both here at UofT and elsewhere. Integrating those blocks into complete systems presents new challenges: the power of the circuits must be lowered, in some cases by two orders of magnitude, and signal processing algorithms are required to automatically calibrate and adapt the blocks to the conditions of real-world communication links.