Soft decision decoding of the orthogonal complex MIMO codes for three and four transmit antennas

Risto Nordman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Orthogonality is a much desired property for MIMO coding. It enables symbol-wise decoding, where the errors in other symbol estimates do not affect the result, thus providing an optimality that is worth pursuing. It also paves the way for low complexity soft decision decoding, which for orthogonal complex MIMO codes is known for two transmit (Tx) antennas, i.e. for the Alamouti code. We propose novel soft decision decoders for the orthogonal complex MIMO codes on three and four Tx antennas and extend the old result of maximal ratio combining (MRC) to cover all orthogonal codes up to four Tx antennas. As a rule, a sophisticated transmission scheme encompasses forward error correction (FEC) coding, and its performance is measured at the FEC decoder instead of at the MIMO decoder. We introduce the receiver structure that delivers the MIMO decoder’s soft decisions to the demodulator, which in turn cranks out the logarithm of likelihood ratio (LLR) of each bit and delivers them to the FEC decoder. This significantly improves the receiver, where a maximum likelihood (ML) MIMO decoder makes hard decisions at a too early stage. Further, the additional gain is achieved with stunningly low complexity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-46
JournalPhysical Communication
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Maximal ratio combining
  • MIMO coding
  • orthogonal codes
  • soft decision decoding
  • space-time codes


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