Out-of-band and adjacent-channel interference reduction by analog nonlinear filters

In a perfect world, we would have ‘brick wall’ filters, no-distortion amplifiers and mixers, and well-coordinated spectrum operations. The real world, however, is prone to various types of unintentional and intentional interference of technogenic (man-made) origin that can disrupt critical communication systems. In this paper, we introduce a methodology for mitigating technogenic interference in communication channels by analog nonlinear filters, with an emphasis on the mitigation of out-of-band and adjacent-channel interference. Interference induced in a communications receiver by external transmitters can be viewed as wide-band non-Gaussian noise affecting a narrower-band signal of interest. This noise may contain a strong component within the receiver passband, which may dominate over the thermal noise. While the total wide-band interference seen by the receiver may or may not be impulsive, we demonstrate that the interfering component due to power emitted by the transmitter into the receiver channel is likely to appear impulsive under a wide range of conditions. We give an example of mechanisms of impulsive interference in digital communication systems resulting from the nonsmooth nature of any physically realizable modulation scheme for transmission of a digital (discontinuous) message. We show that impulsive interference can be effectively mitigated by nonlinear differential limiters (NDLs). An NDL can be configured to behave linearly when the input signal does not contain outliers. When outliers are encountered, the nonlinear response of the NDL limits the magnitude of the respective outliers in the output signal. The signal quality is improved in excess of that achievable by the respective linear filter, increasing the capacity of a communications channel. The behavior of an NDL, and its degree of nonlinearity, is controlled by a single parameter in a manner that enables significantly better overall suppression of the noise-containing impulsive components compared to the respective linear filter. Adaptive configurations of NDLs are similarly controlled by a single parameter and are suitable for improving quality of nonstationary signals under time-varying noise conditions. NDLs are designed to be fully compatible with existing linear devices and systems and to be used as an enhancement, or as a low-cost alternative, to the state-of-art interference mitigation methods.