Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

D. Richard Brown III, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

John McNeill, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Andrew G. Klein, Committee Member




This dissertation considers three related problems in distributed transmission and reception networks. Generally speaking, these types of networks have a transmit cluster with one or more transmit nodes and a receive cluster with one or more receive nodes. Nodes within a given cluster can communicate with each other using a wired or wireless local area network (LAN/WLAN). The overarching goal in this setting is typically to increase the efficiency of communication between the transmit and receive clusters through techniques such as distributed transmit beamforming, distributed reception, or other distributed versions of multi-input multi-output (MIMO) communication. More recently, the problem of wireless power transfer has also been considered in this setting.

The first problem considered by this dissertation relates to distributed reception in a setting with a single transmit node and multiple receive nodes. Since exchanging lightly quantized versions of in-phase and quadrature samples results in high throughput requirements on the receive LAN/WLAN, previous work has considered an approach where nodes exchange hard decisions, along with channel magnitudes, to facilitate combining similar to an ideal receive beamformer. It has been shown that this approach leads to a small loss in SNR performance, with large reductions in required LAN/WLAN throughput. A shortcoming of this work, however, is that all of the prior work has assumed that each receive node has a perfect estimation of its channel to the transmitter.

To address this shortcoming, the first part of this dissertation investigates the effect of channel estimation error on the SNR performance of distributed reception. Analytical expressions for these effects are obtained for two different modulation schemes, M-PSK and M2-QAM. The analysis shows the somewhat surprising result that channel estimation error causes the same amount of performance degradation in ideal beamforming and pseudo-beamforming systems despite the fact that the channel estimation errors manifests themselves quite differently in both systems.

The second problem considered in this dissertation is related to oscillator stability and phase noise modeling. In distributed transmission systems with multiple transmitters in the transmit cluster, synchronization requirements are typically very strict, e.g., on the order of one picosecond, to maintain radio frequency phase alignment across transmitters. Therefore, being able to accurately model the behavior of the oscillators and their phase noise responses is of high importance. Previous approaches have typically relied on a two-state model, but this model is often not sufficiently rich to model low-cost oscillators. This dissertation develops a new three-state oscillator model and a method for estimating the parameters of this model from experimental data. Experimental results show that the proposed model provides up to 3 dB improvement in mean squared error (MSE) performance with respect to a two-state model.

The last part of this work is dedicated to the problem of wireless power transfer in a setting with multiple nodes in the transmit cluster and multiple nodes in the receive cluster. The problem is to align the phases of the transmitters to achieve a certain power distribution across the nodes in the receive cluster. To find optimum transmit phases, we consider a iterative approach, similar to the prior work on one-bit feedback for distributed beamforming, in which each receive node sends a one-bit feedback to the transmit cluster indicating if the received power in that time slot for that node is increased. The transmitters then update their phases based on the feedback. What makes this problem particularly interesting is that, unlike the prior work on one-bit feedback for distributed beamforming, this is a multi-objective optimization problem where not every receive node can receive maximum power from the transmit array. Three different phase update decision rules, each based on the one-bit feedback signals, are analyzed. The effect of array sparsity is also investigated in this setting.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Electrical & Computer Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





channel estimation error, distributed beamforming, distributed transmission and reception, oscillator stability, phase noise modeling, wireless power transfer