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Network MIMO

Coherently-Coordinated Base Stations

BELL LABS Research Project

Context - A number of algorithmic solutions implemented on

the FPGA platform yeilded improved levels of
Modern wireless networks tend to be interference- synchronization accuracy between the base stations
limited, mainly caused by their own base stations and via the inherently asynchronous Ethernet network.
mobile terminals. Suppressing interference would - Low-cost Gigabit Ethernet as a viable backhaul
thus result in significant improvements in data rates, network, satisfying very strict synchronization
capacity and coverage. requirements, was demonstrated.
An experimental radio access platform enabled
Our studies determined the feasibility of achieving significant experimentation and a test bed for
significant performance Network MIMO (Multiple- different algorithms. It consisted of: a re-configurable
Input/Multiple-Output) gains. This led to a proposed radio frequency front-end and an FPGA-based digital
solution to suppress inter-cell interference via phase- baseband connected to a monitoring and post-
coherent coordination and joint spatial filtering processing work station by Ethernet.
between the base stations.
The studies further highlighted how a high-throughput
backhaul network can improve radio access network
performance via a novel network architecture and Figure 1 illustrates base station conection via a high-
multiple-antenna spatial processing. throughput Gigabit Ethernet backhaul network to a
central network controller (CNC).

The realization of a tight time and phase coherence

between remote base stations via a cost-effective
high-speed backhaul network was a critical challenge
to surmount. Gigabit Ethernet, using corresponding
synchronization algorithms based on Bell Lab’s prior Terminals
research, was employed. Base Stations / Access Points
The Network MIMO solution also needed to work Central Network Controller
within an existing wireless communications standard.
Focus on Mobile WiMAX confirmed that the IEEE Figure 1: Possible indoor base stations, terminals and central
802.16e specification can implement the new network controller arrangement.
Network MIMO. And, in a demonstration of concept, The CNC receives uplink signal from each base
the following Mobile WiMAX features were directly station, and performs linear spatial zero-forcing
adopted. filtering to untangle interfering transmissions.
• Pilot arrangements.
• Frame structure.
• TDD.
• Bandwidth (10 or 20 MHz). Interference
• OFDMA parameters.
Desired Signal

Mutiple project innovations are being pursued.

- Several multiple-antenna processing algorithms
were developed and evaluated, all specifically
optimized for Network MIMO requirements. Figure 2 Conventional network where the data rates are limited
by the interference.

Alcatel-Lucent Innovation Days – December 2008

Uplink SINR and data rates in Figure 2 and 3
configurations can be compared. The SINR vs. data
rates results are shown in Figure 4. The application- 9
Improvement NetworkMIMO
level demonstration used is uploading high-resolution
photographs. The figure shows the comparison 8
between a conventional uncoordinated network and 7
Network MIMO speeds. The expected data rate gain
for Network MIMO is more than 300%. 6
Rate 5
High-Speed 4
3 Conventional
-5 0 5 10 15 20
Figure 4: Conventional vs. Network MIMO average SINR and data
rate improvements.

Benefits: Network MIMO innovations can create

better utilization of existing spectrum, higher data
rates and a better user experience. Higher costs
from upgrading backhaul networks should be offset
Figure 3: Network MIMO solution where all the signals are by increased revenues realized by higher customer
useful, i.e., interference is removed. demand coupled with lower spectrum costs that
result from better spectrum use.

Wireless Domain
Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs


Les performances de la plupart des réseaux de communication sans fil modernes sont limitées par des problèmes
d'interférences. La suppression de ces interférences peut générer des améliorations significatives du débit de
données, de la capacité et de la zone de couverture des réseaux. Les études théoriques menées par Alcatel-Lucent
Bell Labs ont permis de déterminer le niveau de faisabilité associé à une amélioration significative de ces
performances, ainsi que de proposer une solution pour supprimer les interférences intercellulaires grâce à un
processus de coordination cohérent pour chaque phase et à un filtrage spatial commun entre les stations de base.

Il a été prouvé que la technologie Gigabit Ethernet utilisée sur un réseau de backhaul à haut débit pouvait renforcer
considérablement les performances des réseaux d'accès radio via une architecture de réseau innovante et un
traitement spatial dédié à des antennes multiples. Pour un réseau Network MIMO, un accroissement des débits de
données de plus de 300 % a été constaté par rapport à un réseau conventionnel non coordonné.