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Prospects of MIMO Techniques for Broadband Wireless Systems

T. Blaji1, M.Druijani1, Z. imi2


Mobile Solutions
Ericsson Nikola Tesla d.d.
Krapinska 45, PO Box 93 Zagreb, Croatia
Telefon: +385-1-365 3702 Fax: +385-1-365 3219 E-mail:;

Customer Servicing Sector

Financijska Agencija

Hondlova 2, Zagreb, HR 10000, Croatia

Tel: +385-1-612 7190 Fax: +385-1-612 8173 E-mail:

Abstract - Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO)

techniques are recently emerging as one of the major
enhancements for future broadband wireless systems. Their
introduction should demonstrate significant gain compared to
current best performing systems with reasonable complexity
on both ends of communication link (base stations and user
This paper presents different MIMO strategies for
achieving increased spectral efficiency and thereby increased
data rates; either use of space-time codes for space diversity
and coding gain, or taking advantage of several parallel
channels (BLAST technology). Development and performance
evaluation of several MIMO techniques currently considered
by 3GPP for enhancements in UMTS are highlighted.

The adoption of smart antenna techniques in future
wireless systems is expected to have a significant impact on
the efficient use of the spectrum, the minimization of the
cost of establishing new wireless networks, the
optimization of service quality and realization of
transparent operation across multitechnology wireless
networks. Smart antenna systems consist of multiple
antenna elements whose signals are processed adaptively in
order to exploit the spatial dimension of the mobile radio
channel. If this processing is performed at both ends of the
communication link (at the transmitting and receiving
side), we are talking about Multiple-input multiple-output
(MIMO) systems. MIMO systems are a natural extension
of developments in antenna array communication, but its
success relies on two considerations that are often
overlooked when investigating new technologies: system
features need to be considered early in the design phase of
future systems (top-down compatibility); and a realistic
performance evaluation needs to be performed according to
the critical parameters associated with future systems
requirements (bottom-up feasibility).
The advantages of MIMO communication, which
exploits the physical channel between many transmit and
receive antennas, are currently receiving significant
attention [1], [2]. A core idea in MIMO systems is spacetime signal processing in which time (as the natural
dimension of digital communication data) is complemented
with the spatial dimension by the use of multiple spatially
distributed antennas. Key feature of MIMO systems is the

ability to turn multi-path propagation, traditionally a pitfall

of wireless transmission, into a benefit for the user. MIMO
effectively takes advantage of random fading and when
available, multipath delay spread for multiplying transfer
rates. The prospect of many orders of magnitude
improvement in wireless communication performance at no
cost of extra spectrum (only hardware and complexity are
added) is largely responsible for the success of MIMO as a
topic for new research.


Considering the general multiantenna system (Figure 1.),
data stream is fed to a transmitting block encompassing the
functions of error control coding and mapping to complex
modulation symbols, producing several separate symbol
streams (ranging from independent to partially redundant to
fully redundant). Mapping may include linear spatial
weighting of the antenna elements or linear antenna spacetime preceding.
At the receiver, the signals are captured by possibly
multiple antennas and demodulation and demapping
operations are performed to recover the message. The level
of intelligence, complexity, and a priori channel knowledge
used in selecting the coding and antenna mapping
algorithms, can vary a great deal depending on the
application. This determines the class and performance of
the multiantenna solution that is implemented.
The performance goals of the concept are to significantly
enhance performance in one of three different ways:
increase peak user data rates
increase the coverage area for high data rate users
increase the system capacity
L Rx antennas

M Tx antennas

space-time weighting
spatial multiplexing





Figure 1. General MIMO transceiver architecture

A. Theoretical capacity of MIMO system

Information-theoretic performance bounds [3] of MIMO
system with M TX and L RX antennas can be expressed as:

C EP = log 2 det I L +



where CEP is capacity of M equal power (EP) uncorrected

sources, is the SNR at any RX antenna, H is the L x M
channel matrix (where (*) means transpose-conjugate) and
IL unit matrix.
Capacity increases linearly with signal-to-noise ratio
(SNR) at low SNR, but increases logarithmically with SNR
at high SNR. In a MIMO system, a given total transmit
power can be divided among multiple spatial paths (or
modes), leading the capacity closer to the linear regime for
each mode, in that way increasing aggregate spectral
efficiency. Assuming an optimal high spectral-efficiency
MIMO channel (a channel matrix with a flat singular-value
distribution), high spectral efficiency is enabled at much
lower required energy per information bit.
B. Overview of main MIMO schemes

TX 1
TX 2
TX 3
TX n



TX 1
TX 2
TX 3
TX n


Different transmission schemes over MIMO channels

are proposed in the literature (excellent tutorial overview of
MIMO systems architecture, analysis and performance can
be found in [3] and [4]). Their design aims to maximize
spectral efficiency and link quality through the
maximization of diversity, data rate, and SNR. Each of
these schemes relies on a certain amount of channel state
information (CSI) available at the transmitter and/or
receiver side. CSI at the transmitter can be made available
through feedback or can be obtained based on estimation of
the receive channel, while at the receiver CSI can be
obtained using training-based or blind techniques.
Transmission schemes that do not require CSI at the
transmitter utilize the spatial dimension by two main
principles by employing coding in the spatial domain or
by employing spatial multiplexing gain.
Space-time coding (STC) increases redundancy over
space and time, as each antenna transmits a differently
encoded redundant version of the same signal, while on the
receiver side a maximum likelihood (ML) decoder is used
for detection. Space-time trellis codes (STTC) present
original form of these codes and they can provide diversity
equal to the number of transmit antennas as well as coding
gain depending on the complexity of the code without loss
in bandwidth efficiency. At the receiver, a
multidimensional Viterbi algorithm is required for
Space-time block codes (STBC) offer the same diversity
as STTCs but do not provide coding gain. However,
STBCs are often the preferred solution over STTCs, as
their decoding only requires linear processing. Spacefrequency block code (SFBC) is based directly on space
time codes, where time is interpreted as frequency. As both
approaches are optimally designed if fading channel is
quasi-static, time or frequency selectivity will degrade
performance of STBC and SFBC.
Space-time coding techniques in principle assume
perfect CSI at the receiver, although there are some

proposals which do not require CSI at either side of the

communication link.
Spatial multiplexing gain is exploited by layered spacetime architectures, where encoded data streams are sent
independently in different spatial layers. Original proposal
used diagonal layers, where bit-stream/antenna association
is periodically cycled (D-BLAST). Later proposal used
sending data in horizontal layers, so-called Vertical Bell
Labs Layered Space-Time (V-BLAST) scheme. The
receiver must demultiplex the spatial channels in order to
detect the transmitted symbols. Minimum mean square
error (MMSE) detection is robust but requires knowledge
of the noise/interference, while maximum likelihood (ML)
is optimal as it compares all possible combinations of
symbols, but can be too complex.
Transmission schemes that require perfect CSI at the
transmitter optimize SNR by focusing energy in the desired
directions; minimizing energy toward all other directions
and satisfying transmit power constraints. Beam-forming
allows spatial access to the radio channel by considering
either short-term properties (directional parameters) or
long-term properties (second-order statistics) of the radio
Hybrid schemes that combine space-time coding and
beamforming have been proposed, based on the fact that in
most of the cases only partial CSI is available at the
At the receiving end of MIMO communication link,
transmitted signal is reconstructed from the collected
multiple signal paths. ML or linear equalizers can be used
in this process to eliminate intersymbol interference (ISI),
but in MIMO case a new problem appears - the presence of
multistream interference (MSI) resulting from the multiple
data streams interfering with each other. Nonlinear
successive cancellation equalizers (V-BLAST equalizers)
convert the MIMO channel into a set of parallel channels
with increasing diversity at each successive stage, but with
error performance dominated by the weakest stream. This
drawback is overcome by applying ordered successive
cancellation, where the strongest stream is decoded first. In
D-BLAST a diagonal layer peeling is performed at the
In the multi-user case, where the base station
communicates with multiple users who share the available
resources (frequency, time, codes, etc.), the design of
MIMO transceivers is more challenging, as it aims to
optimize the impact of interference and heavily depends on
the specifics of the multiple access scheme employed

Figure 2. Layered MIMO architecture


C. Comparison of STC and Spatial Multiplexing

Advantages and disadvantages of STC and spatial
multiplexing can be found if both approaches are compared
according to several factors related to radio channel
characterization (as analyzed in [3] and [4]):
Data rate STC is only suitable for low data rate
service, compared to very high data rates that can be
achieved with spatial multiplexing (very high bandwidth
efficiency is theoretically possible up to 10 b/s/Hz)
Diversity gain there is no coding in the time or space
domain for spatial multiplexing, so it is not suitable for
achieving diversity gain. STC is better choice if system
needs to be designed for better quality of service (QoS) for
average data rate
Spatially correlated channel both STC and spatial
multiplexing work well over weakly spatially correlated
channel. If channel is more spatially correlated, than
SFBC/STBC should be preferred as it results with lower
performance degradation
Frequency-selective channel both approaches work
well in low mobility conditions. In case of high mobility,
only MIMO spatial multiplexing or STBC work well
Fading channel spatial multiplexing and SFBC have
good behavior in fast fading channel only if channel is not
frequency selective. For frequency-selective channel (like
UMTS vehicular B), spatial multiplexing is better
Channel estimation technique STC is less sensitive to
channel estimation error and therefore is a better choice if
CE technique with low accuracy is used
Channel with line-of-sight (LOS) as LOS channel is
spatially correlated, receiver often receives higher SNR.
This causes that SFBC/STBC can work well, while spatial
multiplexing will fail due to spatial correlation


3GPP Technical Report Multiple-Input Multiple Output
in UTRA (TR 25.876 V1.7.1) [5] captures the working
assumptions, potential enhancements and evaluation
criteria of the different techniques that are currently
considered for Multiple-Input Multiple-Output in UTRA
(UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access) with comparison of the
benefits of each enhancement along with the complexity
evaluation of each technique. The purpose of deploying
multiple antennas at both UE and Node-B side in UTRA is
to improve system capacity and spectral efficiency by
increasing downlink data throughput (therefore mainly
applied as an enhancement to HSDPA - High Speed
Downlink Packet Access) within the existing 5MHz carrier.
Some of the considerations that are taken into account in
the evaluation of the different proposals include:
MIMO proposals shall cover one or more of the
following antenna configurations and be restricted to only
these: (2,2), (2,4), (4,1), (4,2), (4,4); where notation (x,y)
denotes a system with x Node B antennas and y UE
Detailed descriptions of aspects that are specific to the
technique shall be provided, including transmit and receive
algorithms, physical layer signaling and control, with
analysis of its complexity compared to existing solutions

The focus shall be on strengthening the UTRA system

as a reliable and cost effective access technique in urban
and sub-urban areas, by improvement of the service
availability as compared to earlier releases (increased
number of users, and/or their coverage and in maximum
data rate per cell)
Full mobility shall be supported, but for HS channels,
the techniques considered shall be optimized at speeds
typical of urban environments (but also applicable at other
MIMO techniques should demonstrate significant
incremental gain over the best performing systems
supported in the current release with reasonable complexity
The operation of MIMO techniques should be
described in sufficient detail to enable realistic link
calibration and system level performance studies. Such
realistic simulations should include effects such as delay,
channel estimation error, signaling error and pilots.
A. Proposals for FDD High Speed Channels
Different proposals imply different trade-offs: should
diversity rather than rate-increase be obtained, if diversity
is desired should it be transmit or receive diversity, should
data rates on each transmit antenna be equal or not ?
PARC (Per-Antenna Rate Control) proposes an open
loop MIMO link that can be achieved if separately encoded
data streams are transmitted from each antenna with equal
power but possibly with different data rates, and if the
receiver consists of a space-time MMSE linear filter
followed by interference cancellation based on postdecoding symbols. The mobile receiver measures SNR of
each transmit antenna in the presence of interference from
the other antennas and feeds back this information to the
base. Then the base determines the data rate for each
antenna. Although the PARC concept itself is not actually
an open loop technique (it requires the SNR information to
be fed back to the transmitter), it achieves the theoretical
open loop MIMO link capacity.
RC MPD (Rate-Control Multi-Paths diversity) exploits
multi-streams transmission, where each data stream is sent
from at least two antennas. Every pair of data streams that
shares the same two antennas has the same data rate and
modulation. The data rate for every pair is fixed by the
Node-B according to the mobile measurements. The NodeB determines the most appropriate data rate and
modulation to transmit for every stream.
DSTTD-SGRC (Double Space Time Transmit Diversity
with Sub-Group Rate Control) for 2 or more receive
antennas; a scheme with four transmit antennas that are
divided into two sub-groups. Adaptive modulation and
coding along with STTD (Space Time Transmit Diversity)based transmission are used by each group to transmit data
where each sub-group transmit using the same MCS
(Modulation and Coding Scheme), and therefore, the same
rate (independently or jointly adjusted by MCS selection).
Sub-group rate control with the STTD structure achieves
higher throughput and the enhanced link diversity that
makes the system more robust to feedback delay induced
estimation errors.
Single Stream Closed loop MIMO with 4 Tx and L Rx
antennas is a single-stream (4,2) closed loop MIMO
scheme. A RAKE receiver with L Rx chains is assumed
here, although alternative receivers are also possible. As in

closed-loop Tx diversity systems, the weights of transmit

antennas are determined at a mobile station and fed back to
the base station. These weights are chosen to maximize the
SNR at the UE.
PU2RC (Per-User Unitary Rate Control) uses spatial
division multiplexing (SDM) and spatial division multiple
access (SDMA) to transmit multiple users, where using the
feedback information the transmit weights are calculated
based on the preferred unitary matrix corresponding to
MIMO channels.
TPRC for CD-SIC MIMO (Transmit Power Ratio
Control for Code-Domain Successive Interference
Cancellation) uses MIMO channel metric considering the
frequency selective channel for the antenna domain link
adaptation. In the receiver part the interference signals
from the multiple antennas in space-domain are cancelled
by the interference canceller; however, the interference
signals from the multiple paths in time-domain are not
cancelled by one but suppressed by linear space-time
equalizer in front of other signal processing.
S-PARC (Selective Per-Antenna Rate Control)
overcomes performance gap of PARC scheme which at low
SNRs and/or when the number of receive antennas is less
than the number of transmit antennas shows a significant
difference between the open-loop (OL) capacity and the
closed-loop (CL) capacity. The essence of the approach is
to adaptively select the number of antennas from which to
transmit, i.e., mode, as well as select the best subset of
antennas for the selected mode. Most of the decision
process is transferred to the base station and the UE
formats its feedback accordingly to enable the decision at
the base to take place. This is preferable since the base
station is aware not only of the power and code resource
availability, but also the amount of data in queue for each
user. The resulting method is line with the philosophy of
todays HSDPA where the CQI (Channel Quality
Indicator) feedback from the UE is treated as a suggestion
only. The base station ultimately handles the scheduling
and MCS selection.
D-TxAA (Double Transmit antenna array) - is a MIMO
scheme for sending multiple data streams with spatial
multiplexing. Four transmit antennas are employed in Node
B, transmit antennas are divided into two sub-groups and
each sub-group transmits independent data stream with
TxAA operation of a pair of transmit antennas. The data
rate of each sub-group can be controlled independently.

STTCC (Spatial Temporal Turbo Channel Coding) is a

technique combining channel coding, modulation and
spatial multiplexing together to achieve high data rate and
performance. The advantage of this approach is that
STTCC can make use of a single receive antenna to
achieve high throughput for 3GPP HSDPA. Moreover, rate
control can be adopted for STTCC, which results in more
flexible data transmission and higher average throughput.
D-ASTTD-SGRC (Double Adaptive Space Time
Transmit Diversity with Sub-Group Rate Control) has the
transmitter structure with two antenna subgroups. The
adaptive weights are calculated separately for each antenna
subgroup, on the basis of the respective feedback
information (FBI) bits received in each slot from the UE on
the dedicated uplink channel (DPCCH).
SCW/MCW-VA (Single & Multiple Word MIMO with
Virtual Antenna) comprises two modes of operation: a
Single Code Word mode (SCW) using a combination of a
selection of the spatial multiplexing order and a cyclic
spatial weighting with a predefined set of unitary weighting
matrices, denoted as Space-Time Scrambling (this mode is
an extension of Code Reuse (CR) BLAST) and a Multiple
Code Word mode (MCW) using a combination of virtual
antenna selection and time-variant permutation of virtual
antenna ports, denoted as Pseudo Random Antenna
Permutation (this mode is an extension of S-PARC).
B. Implications of different proposals
Different proposals imply different trade-offs: should
diversity rather than rate-increase be obtained, if diversity
is desired should it be transmit or receive diversity, should
data rates on each transmit antenna should be equal or not?
The following conclusions might be derived:
MIMO architectures are designed to transmit higher
peak data rates using multiple transmit streams, assuming
that the attainable C/I is high enough to support such rates.
In the case where high C/I is not expected, improvement
through transmit and/or receive diversity is important to
allow for higher-rate modulation and coding options to be
used reliably
Transmit antenna diversity designed for flat fading are
not appropriate for the expected dispersive propagation
environment. However, techniques designed for dispersion
may require too much feedback to support closed-loop M x
L MIMO. Alternatively receiver diversity can be gained by
antenna 1

data rate R1


antenna M

spreading &

spreading &

coding, interleaving,


antenna 2

data rate R2

spreading &



spreading &

coding, interleaving,


antenna 1



data rate RM
coding, interleaving,

antenna M

spreading &

Figure 3. Examples of transmission schemes for

a) Code Reuse BLAST (CR-BLAST) and b) Per-Antenna Rate Control (PARC) MIMO techniques

C. System Level Results for Ericcson S-PARC proposal

3GPP spatial channel model (SCM) defined in [6] was
used in order to study the HSDPA system level
performance of S-PARC MIMO concept (proposed by
Ericsson [7]) in the various environments specified by the
model, i.e., suburban macrocell, urban macrocell, and
urban microcell. SCM channel coefficients depend on such
parameters as angle spread (AS), angle of departure (AoD),
delay spread (DS), Rician K-factor (K) together which
determine the degree of spatial correlation.
Important parameters and their quantized values used for
simulations are summarized in Table 1. For all
environments, the angle spread at the mobile was fixed at
70 degrees (defined angle spread is one observed at the
base station). In all cases the receive antenna spacing is
fixed at 0.5, but three different transmit antenna spacings
are considered: 10, 4 and 0.5. Delay spread values
corresponding to Pedestrian A and the 3GPP microcell
model result in light dispersion, while values corresponding
to Vehicular A and Vehicular B models result in heavy
Suburban macrocell environment is broadly summarized
to be low angle spread with variably light and heavy
dispersion depending on position in the cell. Urban
macrocell environment is broadly summarized to be
moderate angle spread with heavy dispersion everywhere in
the cell. On the other hand, urban microcell environment is
broadly summarized to be high angle spread with light
dispersion. Where it differs from the macrocell
environments is that it has a smaller cell radius (500m) and
the channel has a line-of-sight (LOS) component resulting
in Rician fading. Probability of LOS component occurring
decays linearly out to 300 m, while beyond 300m the
probability is zero. Rician K-factor quantized to 6 values (15, -10, -5, 0, 5, 10 dB), but simulations indicate that the
mean/median value of the K-factor falls somewhere
between -5 and 0 dB.
Results [8] indicate that in all cases there is no
significant difference between 10 and 4 transmit antenna
spacing, but quite a large degradation of performance due




Ped.A (70%)

Veh.A (50%)

Veh.A (30%)

Veh.B (50%)



2, 5, 8

2, 8, 14


AoD [deg]

12, 48

12, 48


32.33 +
35.04 log10d

35.23 +
35.04 log10d

35.68 +
38.00 log10d



30.62 +
26.00 log10d






Cell radius

to transmit antenna correlation occurs when the spacing is

reduced to 0.5 (anyhow, in practice 4 spacing is more
In all cases, the microcell environment offers the best
performance (largest absolute throughputs) due to low
delay spread and large angle spread (Figure 4.). The latter
ensures that the transmit antennas remain uncorrelated even
for very close antenna spacings (0.5). As delay spread
increases and angle spread decreases (increase in antenna
correlation), the suburban macrocell environment will
follow, while the urban macrocell environment will show
worst performance.
When S-PARC is compared with the baseline receive
diversity (RxDiv) system with the same number of receive
antennas, in all environments the benefit (throughput gain)
of transmitting multiple streams (even for correlated
fading) is clearly visible (Table 2.). Generally speaking, the
gain decreases as the number of antennas at either end of
the link decreases. This is due to the fact that there are
fewer effective subchannels, thus limiting the number of
streams that can be transmitted. Similar behavior is
exhibited as the transmit antenna spacing decreases. As the
spacing decreases, the antenna correlation increases, thus
reducing the number of effective subchannels.
90th Percentile of User Throughput
S-PARC, Suburban Macro
RXDiv, Suburban Macro
S-PARC, Urban Macro
RXDiv, Urban Macro
S-PARC, Urban Micro
RXDiv, Urban Micro

User Throughput [Mbps]

transmit selection diversity (subset of streams is used for to

transmission). Since receive diversity cannot be exploited
for M x 1 configurations, an enhanced transmit diversity
(ETD) mode using a constrained amount of feedback may
offer improved performance at reasonable cost.
In MIMO schemes that transmit with equal rates per
antenna (initial proposals, such as VBLAST or CRBLAST, shown on Figure 3.), outer coding is combined
with spatial multiplexing equally to distribute data equally
over M transmit antennas. Advantage was that CQI is a
single metric reflecting the entire transmitted signal. Recent
proposals indicate significantly improved performance
using per-stream coding, at the expense of individual CQI
metrics per stream.
In general, from a system perspective, multiuser
diversity is obtained from advantageously scheduling user
transmissions. Diversity approaches improve the attainable
SNR, but peak rate improvement is limited to singleantenna modulation and coding options. Open-loop MIMO
improves the attainable peak transfer rate, but at the
expense of receiver SNR. Therefore the primary
advantages of MIMO will occur in high SNR environments


System Throughput [Mbps/cell]

Figure 4. Throughput for 4 x 4 system, 4 spacing


(S-PARC vs. RxDiv at 2MBps user throughput, 4 spacing)



















Efforts are also underway, as shown in [9], to combine

MIMO approach with another powerful transmission
technique, Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex
(OFDM). OFDM can transform frequency selective MIMO
channel in multipath environment into set of parallel
frequency-flat MIMO channels, therefore decreasing
receiver complexity and enabling high data rate
Capacity boost available through application of MIMO
will be one of the key enablers for development of future
broadband wireless systems.

If throughput performance of S-PARC and non-selective
PARC is compared, asymmetric configurations (e.g., 4x2
and 2x1) show significantly lower throughput for PARC
due to too high self interference. However, for symmetric
configurations (4x4, 2x2) PARC performs almost as well
as S-PARC (except for 0.5 Tx antenna spacing).
When performance of S-PARC is compared to the
alternative CR-BLAST system, S-PARC consistently
outperforms CR-BLAST in all cases. CR-BLAST selects
the higher-order modes less frequently than S-PARC, while
the gains compared to RxDiv are 2/3 or less those of SPARC depending on the environment. This illustrates the
benefit of performing rate control individually on each
transmit antenna and employing SIC at the receiver.

MIMO techniques, with multiple antennas implemented
at transmitter and receiver side, open a new spatial
dimension to obtain diversity gain for combating signal
fading or to obtain capacity gain. Advantages of this
approach can be exploited in various wireless systems,
especially in case of dense multipath scattering
Implementation of MIMO is adopted by 3GPP for HighSpeed Downlink Packet Access in UMTS through different
currently evaluated proposals (behavior of Ericssons
S-PARC proposal was elaborated in more detail in this

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