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The demand for high-rate wireless services grows unabated as new mobile devices and data-hungry applications continue to emerge. However, despite many advanced physical and link layer techniques that are employed in today's cellular networks, a large number of mobile users, especially at the cell edges, receive inadequate data rates due to high interference and path loss. Several techniques that exploit inter-base station cooperation have been proposed to address the inter-cell interference problem. While the initial studies show promising gains in idealized environments, it is important to analyze these techniques in a more realistic setting. This study provides detailed analyses of the benefits provided by uplink base station cooperation with several practical constraints and issues that would be encountered in a realistic cellular network deployment. Our results indicate that the cooperative signal processing techniques are robust to channel estimation errors given the pilot structure available in contemporary wireless systems. Furthermore, uplink cooperation can substantially improve the interference management capability of the cellular network, providing significant rate improvement over current non-cooperative networks.
Date of Publication: March 2012