January 01, 2018

Massive MIMO has Unlimited Capacity

  • Bjornson E.
  • Hoydis J.
  • Sanguinetti L.

The spectral efficiency (SE) of cellular networks can be improved by the unprecedented array gain and spatial multiplexing offered by Massive MIMO. Since its inception, the coherent interference caused by pilot contamination has been believed to create a finite SE limit, as the number of antennas goes to infinity. In this paper, we prove that this is incorrect and an artifact from using simplistic channel models and suboptimal precoding/combining schemes. We show that with multicell MMSE precoding/combining and a tiny amount of spatial channel correlation or large-scale fading variations over the array, the SE increases without bound as the number of antennas increases, even under pilot contamination. More precisely, the result holds when the channel covariance matrices of the contaminating users are asymptotically linearly independent, which is generally the case. If also the diagonals of the covariance matrices are linearly independent, it is sufficient to know these diagonals (and not the full covariance matrices) to achieve an unlimited asymptotic capacity.

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