December 04, 2017

What is the Optimal Network Deployment for a Fixed Density of Antennas?

  • Guoqiang Mao
  • Lopez-Perez D.
  • Ming Ding
  • Xuefeng Yao
  • Zihuai Lin

In this paper, we answer a fundamental question: when the total number of antennas per square kilometer is fixed, what is the optimal network deployment? A denser network with a less number of antennas per base station (BS) or the opposite case. To evaluate network performance, we consider a practical network scenario with fixed antennas density and multiuser multiple-input-multiple-output (MU-MIMO) operations for single-antenna users. The number of antennas in each BS is calculated by dividing the antenna density by the BS density. With the consideration of several practical network models, i.e., pilot contamination, a limited UE density and probabilistic line-of-sight (LoS)/non-line-of-sight (NLoS) path loss model, we evaluate the area spectral efficiency (ASE) performance with respect to the user equipment (UE) density. From our simulation results, we conclude that there exists an optimal BS density for a certain UE density to maximize the ASE performance when the antenna density is fixed. The intuition is that (i) by densifying the network with more BSs, we can achieve a receive power gain due to the smaller distance between the typical UE and its serving BS; (ii) by installing more antennas on each BS, we can achieve a beamforming gain for each UE using MU-MIMO, although such beamforming gain is degraded by pilot contamination; (iii) thus, a trade-off exists between the receive power gain and the beamforming gain, if we fix the antenna density in the network.

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