Episode 13: Distributed and Cell-Free Massive MIMO

We have now released the 13th episode of the podcast Wireless Future, with the following abstract:

Wireless devices normally connect to a single access point, deployed at one location. The access points are deployed sparsely to create large cell regions, each controlled by the nearest access point. This architecture was conceived for mobile telephony and has been inherited by today’s networks, even if those mainly transfer wireless data. However, future wireless networks might be organized entirely differently. In this episode, Erik G. Larsson and Emil Björnson discuss how one can create cell-free networks consisting of distributed massive MIMO arrays. The vision is that each user will be surrounded by small access points that cooperate to provide uniformly high service quality. The conversation covers the key benefits, how the network architecture can be evolved to support the new technology, and what the main research challenges are. To learn more, they recommend the article “Ubiquitous Cell-Free Massive MIMO Communications” and the new book “Foundations of User-Centric Cell-Free Massive MIMO”.

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2 thoughts on “Episode 13: Distributed and Cell-Free Massive MIMO”

  1. I have three questions:
    1. Can be Cell-Free Massive MIMO reality due to the synchronization challenge?
    2. Do we need to combine Cell-Free Massive MIMO with the other emerging technologies for better system performance or Cell-Free Massive MIMO can perform all at once?
    3. Is the user-centric a solution because linear signal processing does not work well in Cell-Free Massive MIMO?

    1. 1. Yes, I think so, but it will indeed be one of the implementation challenges.

      2. It depends on what you want to achieve. Cell-free Massive MIMO can be utilized in different frequency bands, sub-6 GHz as well as mmWave frequencies.

      3. No, the issue is rather that we cannot let all access points serve all users, because the complexity and fronthaul signaling will be too large. The goal with user-centric networking is that every user should be served by all its surrounding access points, but not those that are further way. There are no predefined cells, but every user is served by those access points that are needed to provide good service.

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