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Measuring the Phase Variation of a DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex Channel



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Including a Full Duplex option into DOCSIS introduces several problems. One of the more troublesome issues is the presence of a strong self interference signal that leaks from the transmit side to the receive side of a cable node. This self interference is caused by echoes in the channel that translate the forward travelling transmit signals into a reverse travelling signal, as well as, by leakage from the hybrid coupler used to couple the upstream and downstream signals. To suppress this self interference an echo canceller is implemented to remove the unwanted interference from the received signal. Unfortunately with the high rates of data transmission used in modern day CATV networks the echo canceller needs tremendous precision. A major concern in the implementation of Full Duplex into DOCSIS is if the channels used are even very slightly time varying. The echos in such channels change with time and can be difficult for the echo canceller to track. Changes in the response of the channel cause the echo profile of the network to shift and the echo canceler to re-adapt to the new channel response. The issue with this changing response is that it is possible for the channel to change faster than the echo canceller can adapt, resulting in the interference becoming unacceptably high. Since the channel is a physical network of coaxial cables often exposed to the environment, its propagation properties can be affected by wind swaying pole mounted cables, or by rapid heating from the sun, or sudden shifts in the load of the network. With information on how the physical properties of the cable changes, the engineers designing the echo canceller can know how fast the canceller must adapt to changes and also have a better measure of how reliable its echo cancellation will be. In this thesis the stability of the echo profile of the channel is measured. It is shown that the property of the channel with the greatest potential to rapidly change and cause noise after echo cancellation is the phase response of the channel. Due to this, the approach of this thesis is to measure the fluctuations in the phase of the channel response of a CATV network constructed in the lab. To measure the fluctuations in the phase response of the channel, a PLL (Phase Locked Loop) based circuit is designed and built on an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) and connected to a model of a simple CATV network. The PLL circuit used to measure the phase fluctuations of the channel is designed to be able to measure changes occurring faster than 0.1 Hz and with a power higher than $10^{-7} \: V^2$. The circuit is able to capture data from the channel over a period of 90 seconds. Using this phase variation measurement circuit a series of experiments were performed on a model CATV DOCSIS network. It was found that many physical disturbances to the network had the effect of rapidly shifting the phase response of the network. Heating the cables in the network was found to shift the phase response upwards of $20000\:\mu$radians. Flexing the cables in the network was found to have a peak phase variation of $8000\: \mu$radians with similar effects found from walking over cables. Overall, it was clear that physical effects on the network had the propensity to rapidly shift the network response. Any echo canceller that is designed in the future will have to consider these effects when reporting the cancellation that it is able to achieve.



DOCSIS, Full-Duplex, Cable-Networks, Phase-Locked Loops, FPGA



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Electrical Engineering


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