Analysis of Cellular and Cell-Free Massive MIMO with Rician Fading

Abstract: The data traffic in cellular networks has grown at an exponential pace for decades. This trend will most probably continue in the future, driven by new innovative applications. One of the key enablers of future cellular networks is the massive MIMO technology. A massive MIMO base station is equipped with a massive number (e.g., a hundred) of individually steerable antennas, which can be effectively used to serve tens of user equipments simultaneously on the same time-frequency resource. It can provide a notable enhancement of both spectral efficiency and energy efficiency in comparison with conventional MIMO.In the literature, the achievable spectral efficiencies of massive MIMO systems with a practical number of antennas have been rigorously characterized and optimized when the channels are subject to either spatially uncorrelated or correlated Rayleigh fading. Typically, in massive MIMO research, i.i.d. Rayleigh fading or less frequently free-space line-of-sight (LoS) channel models are assumed since they simplify the analysis. Massive MIMO technology is able to support both rich scattering and LoS scenarios. However, practical channels can consist of a combination of an LoS path and a correlated small-scale fading component caused by a finite number of scattering clusters that can be modeled by spatially correlated Rician fading. In the first part of this thesis, we consider a multi-cell scenario with spatially correlated Rician fading channels and derive closed-form achievable spectral efficiency expressions for different signal processing techniques.Alternatively, a massive number of antennas can be spread over a large geographical area and this concept is called cell-free massive MIMO. In the canonical form of cell-free massive MIMO, the access points cooperate via a fronthaul network to spatially multiplex the users on the same time-frequency resource using network MIMO methods that only require locally obtained channel state information. Cellfree massive MIMO is a densely deployed system. Hence, the probability of having an LoS path between some access points and the users is quite high. In the second part of this thesis, we consider a practical scenario where the channels between the access points and the users are modeled with Rician fading.

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