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Layered space-time architecture for wireless communication in a fading environment when using multi-element antennas

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1 Author(s)
Foschini, Gerard J. ; Wireless Communications Research Department at Bell Labs in Holmdel, New Jersey

This paper addresses digital communication in a Rayleigh fading environment when the channel characteristic is unknown at the transmitter but is known (tracked) at the receiver. Inventing a codec architecture that can realize a significant portion of the great capacity promised by information theory is essential to a standout long-term position in highly competitive arenas like fixed and indoor wireless. Use (nT, nR) to express the number of antenna elements at the transmitter and receiver. An (n, n) analysis shows that despite the n received waves interfering randomly, capacity grows linearly with n and is enormous. With n = 8 at 1% outage and 21-dB average SNR at each receiving element, 42 b/s/Hz is achieved. The capacity is more than 40 times that of a (1, 1) system at the same total radiated transmitter power and bandwidth. Moreover, in some applications, n could be much larger than 8. In striving for significant fractions of such huge capacities, the question arises: Can one construct an (n, n) system whose capacity scales linearly with n, using as building blocks n separately coded one-dimensional (1-D) subsystems of equal capacity? With the aim of leveraging the already highly developed 1-D codec technology, this paper reports just such an invention. In this new architecture, signals are layered in space and time as suggested by a tight capacity bound.

Published in:

Bell Labs Technical Journal  (Volume:1 ,  Issue: 2 )