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Achieving "Massive MIMO" Spectral Efficiency with a Not-so-Large Number of Antennas

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4 Author(s)
Hoon Huh ; Media Lab., Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Suwon, Gyeonggi-do 443-742, Korea ; Giuseppe Caire ; Haralabos C. Papadopoulos ; Sean A. Ramprashad

Time-Division Duplexing (TDD) allows to estimate the downlink channels for an arbitrarily large number of base station antennas from a finite number of orthogonal uplink pilot signals, by exploiting channel reciprocity. Based on this observation, a recently proposed "Massive MIMO" scheme was shown to achieve unprecedented spectral efficiency in realistic conditions of distance-dependent pathloss and channel coherence time and bandwidth. The main focus and contribution of this paper is an improved Network-MIMO TDD architecture achieving spectral efficiencies comparable with "Massive MIMO", with one order of magnitude fewer antennas per active user per cell (roughly, from 500 to 50 antennas). The proposed architecture is based on a family of Network-MIMO schemes defined by small clusters of cooperating base stations, zero-forcing multiuser MIMO precoding with suitable inter-cluster interference mitigation constraints, uplink pilot signals allocation and frequency reuse across cells. The key idea consists of partitioning the users into equivalence classes, optimizing the Network-MIMO scheme for each equivalence class, and letting a scheduler allocate the channel time-frequency dimensions to the different classes in order to maximize a suitable network utility function that captures a desired notion of fairness. This results in a mixed-mode Network-MIMO architecture, where different schemes, each of which is optimized for the served user equivalence class, are multiplexed in time-frequency. In order to carry out the performance analysis and the optimization of the proposed architecture in a systematic and computationally efficient way, we consider the large-system regime where the number of users, the number of antennas, and the channel coherence block length go to infinity with fixed ratios.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications  (Volume:11 ,  Issue: 9 )