Impact of General Channel Aging Conditions on the Downlink Performance of Massive MIMO

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Recent works have identified massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) as a key technology for achieving substantial gains in spectral and energy efficiency. Additionally, the turn to low-cost transceivers, being prone to hardware impairments, is the most effective and attractive way for cost-efficient applications concerning massive MIMO systems. In this context, the impact of channel aging, which severely affects performance, is investigated herein by considering a generalized model. Specifically, we show that both Doppler shift due to the users' relative movement, as well as phase noise due to noisy local oscillators, contribute to channel aging. To this end, we first propose a joint model, encompassing both effects, to investigate the performance of a massive MIMO system based on the inevitable time-varying nature of realistic mobile communications. Then, we derive the deterministic equivalents for the signal-to-noise-and-interference ratios (SINRs) with maximum ratio transmission (MRT) and regularized zero-forcing (RZF) precoding. Our analysis not only demonstrates a performance comparison between MRT and RZF under these conditions but, most importantly, also reveals interesting properties regarding the effects of user mobility and phase noise. In particular, the large antenna limit behavior profoundly depends on both effects, but the burden due to user mobility is much more detrimental than phase noise even for moderate user velocities (≈ 30 km/h), whereas the negative impact of phase noise is noteworthy at lower mobility conditions. Moreover, massive MIMO systems are favorable even in general channel aging conditions. Nevertheless, we demonstrate that the transmit power of each user to maintain a certain quality of service can be scaled down, at most, by 1√M (M is the number of base station antennas), which indicates that the joint effects of phase noise and user mobility do not degrade the power scaling law but only the achievable sum-rate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7473866
Pages (from-to)1428-1442
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number2
Early online date19 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Channel estimation
  • Doppler shift
  • hardware impairments
  • linear precoding
  • massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO)
  • phase noise
  • Time-division duplex (TDD) systems


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