Survey of Turbo, LDPC, and Polar Decoder ASIC Implementations

S. Shao, P. Hailes, T.-Y. Wang, J.-Y. Wu, R.G. Maunder, B.M. Al-Hashimi, L. Hanzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


Channel coding may be viewed as the best-informed and most potent component of cellular communication systems, which is used for correcting the transmission errors inflicted by noise, interference, and fading. The powerful turbo code was selected to provide channel coding for mobile broad band data in the 3G UMTS and 4G long term evolution cellular systems. However, the 3GPP standardization group has recently debated whether it should be replaced by low density parity check (LDPC) or polar codes in 5G new radio, ultimately reaching the decision to adopt the LDPC code family for enhanced mobile broad band (eMBB) data and polar codes for eMBB control. This paper summarizes the factors that influenced this debate, with a particular focus on the application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) implementation of the decoders of these three codes. We show that the overall implementation complexity of turbo, LDPC, and polar decoders depends on numerous other factors beyond their computational complexity. More specifically, we compare the throughput, error correction capability, flexibility, area efficiency, and energy efficiency of ASIC implementations drawn from 110 papers and use the results for characterizing the advantages and disadvantages of these three codes as well as for avoiding pitfalls and for providing design guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2309-2333
JournalIeee Communications Surveys And Tutorials
Issue number3
Early online date17 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


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