Maximum likelihood detection is an essential part of high-performance multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) communication systems. While it is attractive due to its superior performance (in terms of BER) its complexity using a straightforward exhaustive search grows exponentially with the number of antennas and the order of the modulation scheme. Sphere decoding is a promising method to reduce the average decoding complexity significantly without compromising performance. This paper discusses the VLSI implementation of the sphere decoder and presents the first implementation of the algorithm that does not compromise BER performance.
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