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Multi-antenna sharpens WiMAX’s competitiveness

Multi-antenna sharpens WiMAX’s competitiveness
Technical gains


Shannon’s information theory contends that there is an impassable upper limit to the capacity of a single-antenna system. This is due to restrictions in bandwidth, received signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), frequency resources, and operational expenditure (OPEX). An alternative is necessary to address this capacity problem, and multi-antenna technology has emerged as the sole effective solution.
By Deng Chunmei
49 JUN 2008 . ISSUE 41

ignals are generally transmitted and received through multiple antennas in a multi-antenna system. By adopting appropriate signal transmission forms and receiver designs, multi-antenna technology can elevate capacity without significantly increasing the cost of a wireless communications system. Multi-antenna technology yields the following technical gains across a system: Power: If x antennas are used for transmission, x transmission channels are available. Thus the total transmission power of a multi-antenna system is x times that of a single-antenna system. This achieves power gains of 10log(x) dB. Although an increase in transmission power can also be realized in a single-antenna system, the requirements on the power amplifier are in turn raised, which increases both technical difficulty and cost. Array: The array gain refers to the increase in the average SNR at the receiver end coupled with unchanged total transmission power. Various multi-antenna systems obtain array gains via the coherent combination of signals. Therefore, multiantenna technology can raise received SNR. Space diversity: Given the fading feature of radio channels, signals in a single-antenna system are prone to deep fading. In multi-antenna technology, the distance between antennas is sufficient to facilitate independent fading among the signals received by different antennas. The SNR of the received signal fluctuates little after its integration, and the quality of the

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received signal is strengthened. Co-channel interference reduction: In a cellular mobile communications system, frequency reuse raises the issue of intercell interference. Interference signals are colored noise rather than white noise. At the receiver end, suitable multi-antenna space weighting is performed to combine expected signals and suppress interference signals, thus improving the average received SNR. Spatial multiplexing: This relates t o i n c re a s e s i n d a t a t h ro u g h p u t o r transmission rate, with transmission power and bandwidth remaining unchanged. Spatial multiplexing gains can be acquired if different antennas are used to transmit multiple parallel data streams on the same time-frequency resources.

conjunction with Matrix A or Matrix B to further enhance diversity performance or diversity and multiplexing performance.

Downlink BF
During beamforming (BF), the transmitter assigns weights to the data prior to transmission. A narrow transmission beam is formed to focus energy on the target terminal. Thus, the demodulated SNR of the target receiver is raised, and terminal throughput efficiency at cell borders is enhanced. BF delivers gains in array, diversity, and multiplexing. BF can be implemented via MIMO-BF or DOA-BF. In MIMO-BF, channel messages are used to assign weights to transmitted data in order to form a beam. MIMO-BF has two modes: open-loop and closed-loop. The open-loop mode uses uplink channel information to assign weights to transmitted signals. It is unnecessary for the receiver to send channel information back to the transmitter. Instead, the transmitter estimates channel information through the uplink channel. Open-loop MIMO-BF effectively raises coverage and throughput. However, uplink signals are required for weight estimation for downlink transmission, which causes long delays. This mode is applicable only to low-rate scenarios. Moreover, openloop MIMO-BF technology utilizes the reciprocal features of both uplink and downlink channels, and as such the system needs to calibrate all transceiving channels. In closed-loop MIMO-BF, the terminal has to send channel information such as the codebook to the transmitter, which then uses channel information to assign weights to the transmitted signals. Feedback delays mean that a closed-loop BF only guarantees high performance in low-rate scenarios. Since it is affected by feedback precision, the performance of a closed-loop BF is inferior to an openloop BF. However, the advantages of the closed-loop BF comprise its ease of implementation and the fact that calibration of antenna transceiving channels is not required. The current industry practice employs only open-loop BFs in TDD systems and closed-loop BFs

Application in WiMAX 16e
The WiMAX 16e system uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) technology, which overcomes multi-path fading and can be easily integrated with Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) technology. The WiMAX 16e system supports the following multi-antenna technologies:

Downlink open-loop MIMO
The WiMAX 16e protocol defines three open-loop MIMO transmission matrixes that use space-time coding: matrixes A, B, and C. Matrix A employs a transmission diversity structure to achieve diversity gains; Matrix B uses a space multiplexing structure to realize multiplexing gains; and Matrix C utilizes a diversity and multiplexing hybrid structure in order to accomplish both diversity and multiplexing gains. According to the protocol, space-time coding cannot be used for the downlink common channel. In this case, the Cyclic Delay Diversity (CDD) technology can be used to obtain diversity gains. CDD technology allows different delayed copies of the same data stream to be transmitted through different antennas. Multi-path diversity is realized, and the common channel coverage is enlarged. For data channels, CDD can be used in

in FDD systems. In the DOA-BF, the system estimates the direction of arrival (DOA) of signals and uses the DOA information to generate transmission weights. The main beam lobe is targeted through an optimal path. Compared with MIMO-BF, DOA-BF features the following characteristics: (1) DOA-BF requires a short distance between antennas in the antenna array. Generally, the distance should be shorter than a carrier’s wavelength. In areas where multiple paths exist on a large-scale, DOABF is relatively ineffective. In Non-Lineof-Sight (NLOS) areas, performance may decline due to inaccurate DOA estimation. Therefore, DOA-BF is not appropriate for densely populated urban areas, and is more suitable for rural and suburban locations. Unfortunately, due to low traffic volumes in rural and suburban areas and high costs, DOA-BF is not a particularly practical solution. In MIMO-BF, the distance between antennas is large, and multi-path search capability is strong. This mode is suitable for densely populated urban areas where it raises system capacity and reduces network construction and expansion costs. (2) DOA-BF has high requirements for consistency between antenna array elements. The system needs calibration of both transceiving channels and antennas. If calibration results are not ideal, system performance will drop, thus increasing the complexity of realizing DOA-BF. At present, not many cases of successful DOA-BF application exist. However, the entire industry is confident with respect to MIMO-BF deployment. Huawei is one of the leading equipment manufacturers who have realized MIMO-BF technology.

Downlink MIMO+BF
I n B F, o n l y o n e d a t a s t r e a m i s transmitted at a given moment, and there is no gain in multiplexing. To further increase throughput, we can integrate BF technology with space-time coding to form the BF plus Matrix A or BF plus Matrix B structures. These are collectively known as MIMO+BF.

Uplink multi-antenna diversity
JUN 2008 . ISSUE 41


Multi-antenna sharpens WiMAX’s competitiveness

Uplink reception diversity is the most commonly used multi-antenna technology. At the base station side, coherent combination is conducted on the signals received by multiple antennas to achieve array gains.

Uplink CSM
I n u p l i n k C o l l a b o r a t i v e Sp a t i a l Multiplexing (CSM) technology, the terminals that correspond to two single transmission antennas are scheduled on the same time-frequency resources, and uplink capacity increases through multiplexing. When choosing cooperative terminals, we must ensure orthogonality between the signal channels of different terminals, which imposes high requirements on the scheduling algorithm. The above multi-antenna technologies possess their respective merits and defects, and their performances are closely related to actual situations. We need to consider various factors when selecting technologies. Adaptive shifting between different MIMO technologies should be guaranteed to allow a system both to cope with the constantly changing radio environment and to maximally realize throughput or coverage.

Mu l t i - a n t e n n a t e c h n o l o g y a l s o contributes much to achieving system capacity improvements on the uplink. Compared with the “1x2” mode, “1x4” offers a performance gain of about 30% through uplink reception diversity. If CSM multiplexing is used on the uplink, spectral efficiency will exceed 50%. The above data demonstrates that multi-antenna technology can enhance spectral efficiency; it therefore forms an effective solution to capacity problems. Raised peak rates significantly boost user experience and create favorable conditions for service operation. This helps operators to construct profitable business models, and paves the way for the holistic and continuous development of the WiMAX industry.

Improving network coverage
In a WiMAX system, coverage restriction is generally encountered on the uplink side. Multiple antennas can be used to improve uplink coverage. When two antennas are used for reception diversity, uplink coverage is improved by over 3dB, compared with single antenna reception. When four antennas are utilized for reception diversity, uplink coverage can be further enhanced by 1 to 2dB. On the downlink, BF can be used to focus energy on target terminals to improve terminal throughput at cell borders. It is clear that multi-antenna technology dramatically improves network coverage and reduces the number of base stations (BTS).

The excellent coverage performance of multi-antenna systems reduces the number of sites, and fixed network operators without mobile licenses can invest less in equipment and site rental or construction. Multi-antenna systems require multiple antennas without obviously placing higher requirements on rooftops. Two bidirectional antennas can be employed in a unified package. On a given rooftop, only one installation position is necessary. Deployment and maintenance are convenient, and OPEX is lowered. High quality multi-antenna technologies broadly increase spectral e f f i c i e n c y, l o w e r c o s t p e r b i t , a n d effectively improve user experience. The technologies also expand network coverage, increase subscriber throughput in cell borders, reduce BTS numbers, and cut network CAPEX and OPEX. For the new generation of wireless communications systems such as WiMAX, the performance of multi-antenna systems forms one of the key factors that can increase the core competitiveness of related products.

Quality derived from technology
Huawei has been conducting multiantenna technology R&D since 1999. By the end of 2007, Huawei had applied for over 100 core patents related to multiantenna technology. Now, Huawei is positioned as one of the globally leading suppliers of WiMAX BTSs. Huawei’s WiMAX BTSs support a complete suite of multi-antenna solutions, including openloop MIMO, uplink 4-antenna reception diversity, uplink CSM, and downlink 4-antenna MIMO-BF. To meet various networking requirements, Huawei provides a series of BTSs including macro, micro, remote RF distributed, and Pico. The antennas support configurations such as 2T2R, 2T4R, and 4T4R to adapt to different situations and realize flexible networking at minimized costs. Huawei will continue to provide robust, low cost, and stable multi-antenna products and solutions for global operators. Editor: Li Xuefeng

Performance advantages
Expanding system capacity
The simulation test results deriving from Huawei and the WiMAX Forum demonstrate the effects of multi-antenna technology in terms of expanding system capacity. Both the open-loop MIMO 2x2 and 1x2 antenna configurations are adopted for self-adaptation between Matrix A and Matrix B. In comparison with the “1x2” mode, “2x2” improves the spectral efficiency by between 55% and 60% on the downlink, and by approximately 35% on the uplink. If we use BF or BF and MIMO together, system capacity can be further expanded. Compared with open-loop MIMO 2x2, MIMO-BF 4x2 and the “MIMO+BF” 4x2 can respectively raise the downlink spectral efficiency by about 10% and 60%. Evidently, the joint use of MIMO and BF heightens performance to an even greater degree. 51 JUN 2008 . ISSUE 41

Lowering CAPEX and OPEX
Multi-antenna technology greatly increases system capacity. During the early stages of network construction, it is unnecessar y for an operator to deploy multiple carrier frequencies, and thus capital expenditure (CAPEX) is drastically reduced. Moreover, the flexible configuration of antennas meets network construction requirements in different areas. In densely populated urban areas, the 4T4R configuration can be used to meet capacity requirements. In suburban and rural areas, the 2T4R configuration can be used to meet coverage requirements.

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