Linear Pre-Coding Performance in Measured Very-Large MIMO Channels
Wireless communication using very-large multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) antennas is a new research field, where base stations are equipped with a very large number of antennas as compared to previously considered systems. In theory, as the number of antennas increases, propagation properties that were random before start to become deterministic. Theoretical investigations with independent identically distributed (i.i.d.) complex Gaussian (Rayleigh fading) channels and unlimited number of antennas have been done, but in practice we need to know what benefits we can get from very large, but limited, number of antenna elements in realistic propagation environments. In this study we evaluate properties of measured residential-area channels, where the base station is equipped with 128 antenna ports. An important property to consider is the orthogonality between channels to different users, since this property tells us how advanced multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) pre-coding schemes we need in the downlink. We show that orthogonality improves with increasing number of antennas, but for two single-antenna users there is very little improvement beyond 20 antennas. We also evaluate sum-rate performance for two linear pre-coding schemes, zero-forcing (ZF) and minimum mean squared error (MMSE), as a function of the number of base station antennas. Already at 20 base station antennas these linear pre-coding schemes reach 98% of the optimal dirty-paper coding (DPC) capacity for the measured channels.