April 15, 2018

Uplink sounding reference signal coordination to combat pilot contamination in 5G massive MIMO

To guarantee the success of massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO), one of the main challenges to solve is the efficient management of pilot contamination. Allocation of fully orthogonal pilot sequences across the network would provide a solution to the problem, but the associated overhead would make this approach infeasible in practical systems. Ongoing fifth-generation (5G) standardisation activities are debating the amount of resources to be dedicated to the transmission of pilot sequences, focussing on uplink sounding reference signals (UL SRSs) design. In this paper, we evaluate the performance of various UL SRS allocation strategies in practical deployments, shedding light on their strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, we introduce a novel UL SRS fractional reuse (FR) scheme, denoted neighbour-aware (FR-NA). The proposed FR-NA generalizes the fixed reuse paradigm, and entails a trade-off between i) aggressively sharing some UL SRS resources, and ii) protecting other UL SRS resources with the aim of relieving neighbouring BSs from pilot contamination. Said features result in a cell throughput improvement over both fixed reuse and state-of-the-art FR based on a cell-centric perspective.

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