Performance Characteristics and Specification of PCM Bit Synchronizer/Signal Conditioners
AffiliationNASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
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AbstractThe PCM BR Synchronizer/Signal Conditioner, hereafter called "synchronizer," plays a vital role in telemetry data recovery, and is perhaps the most important and complex component of telemetry data processing systems (DPS). The synchronizer, being the "front end" of the system, makes an irrevocable decision as to the binary value of each data bit, and provides the fundamental timing signal (clock) for the entire DPS. Thus, the performance characteristics of the synchronizer substantially determine the system's capabilities, and it may be said that the system is as good (or bad) as the synchronizer. This paper presents and discusses test data obtained on synchronizers available to date, and used at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and its satellite tracking and data acquisition network (STADAN) stations. Performance characteristics such as bit synchronization (bit sync), bit sync acquisition, tracking, bit error rate, and intersymbol interference have been measured with respect to split-phase (SP) and NRZ-L input signals between 500 bps and 300 Kbps, perturbed by "white" Gaussian noise plus jitter. The effect of tape recording and band limiting of these signals on synchronizer performance is also discussed. It is shown that bit error rate alone does not "tell the whole story" about synchronizers, particularly when operating with low (less than 7 dB) SNR's plus jitter. The test data indicate that there is no single synchronizer excelling in all respects. For example, a synchronizer which operates well down to SNR of -3 dB has inferior acquisition, and slippage characteristics when jitter is added to noise. Generally, the performance threshold for random jitter (defined later) is at SNR greater than 10 dB. Some synchronizers seem to perform better with SP than NRZ-L signals, and vice versa. Finally, discussed and suggested are definitions of performance parameters which would uniformly and unambiguously describe and specify synchronizers. A lack of precisely defined and measurable performance parameters and characteristics has caused misinterpretation and misunderstanding of specifications presented by both vendor and customer.
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