BER-optimal analog-to-digital converters for communication links

Rajan Narasimha, Minwei Lu, Naresh R. Shanbhag, Andrew C. Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we propose low precision BER-optimal analog-to-digital converters (ADC) where quantization levels and thresholds are set nonuniformly to minimize the bit-error rate (BER ) in a high data rate communication link. This is in contrast to how ADCs are used today, in which they act as transparent waveform preservers. Simulations for various communication channels show that for 2-PAM modulation, the BER-optimal ADC achieves shaping gains that range from 2.5 dB for channels with low intersymbol interference (ISI) to more than 30 dB for channels with high levels of ISI. Moreover, a 3-bit BER -optimal ADC achieves the same or even lower BER than a 4-bit uniform ADC. With a DFE and a high-ISI channel, a 3-bit BER -optimal ADC achieves lower BER than a 5-bit uniform ADC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6178283
Pages (from-to)3683-3691
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012


  • Analog-to-digital conversion
  • bit-error-rate
  • high-speed link
  • low power
  • optimization
  • reference-levels
  • wire-line communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'BER-optimal analog-to-digital converters for communication links'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this