Massive MIMO wireless networks: Theory and methods

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Wolfson Sch of Mech, Elec & Manufac Eng


Spectrum is a precious but scarce natural resource. In the UK, Ofcom will free up the analogue TV spectrum at 800MHz (together with the available 2.6GHz band) for 4G, which has already raised £2.34 billion for the national purse. According to Ofcom, the amount of data Britons consume on the move each month has already hit 20 million gigabytes, mainly due to users' engagement of video, TV and films while on the move. It is also a common understanding for the mobile operators that by 2020 a 1000 times increase in the system capacity will be needed to avoid mobile networks grinding to a halt. Maximising spectral efficiency, which is limited by interference and fading for wireless networks including 4G, is therefore a major issue. An emerging idea, which is championed by Alcatel-Lucent and has already received serious consideration by vendors and operators is that of a massive MIMO antenna system. This technology has the potential to unlock the issue of spectrum scarcity and to enhance spectrum usage tremendously by enabling simultaneous access of tens or hundreds of terminals in the same time-frequency resource.

In order for massive MIMO technology to attain its utmost potential, it is important that various challenges in terms of channel estimation and acquisition due to pilot contamination, fast spatial-temporal variations in signal power and autonomous resource allocation, in particular in the presence of simultaneous access of a large number of users need to be addressed. The focus of this project is on tackling these fundamental challenges, by advancing aspects of information theory, estimation theory and network optimisations. In particular, we will contribute in terms of modelling massive MIMO channels underpinned by heterogeneous correlation structures; performing information theoretic analysis in terms of random matrix theory through shrinkage estimators; robust precoder design for massive MIMO in the presence of channel estimation errors; developing novel channel estimation technique in the presence of severe pilot contamination; and proposing and analysing game theoretic algorithms for autonomous resource allocation and pilot assignments. All the concepts and algorithms developed will be integrated and the radio link layer performance will be assessed using a simulation reference system based on LTE-Advanced standards and its evolution towards 5G. Industrial partners will be engaged throughout the project to ensure industrial relevance of our work.


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Description We have developed resource allocation techniques using game theoretic and convex optimizations for massive MIMO wireless networks. We have also performed various mathematical analyses for beamformer design and for understanding interference in wireless networks.
Exploitation Route This findings has been published in two high impact IEEE Journals and submitted for publication in one IEEE Journal.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)

Description This project resulted in the proposal of new optimization techniques and statistical performance analyses for multi-input multi-output (MIMO) wireless communication systems which is an essential enabling technology in 5G and beyond wireless systems. We have proposed resource allocation techniques for non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) systems which is considered as a candidate technology for future generation wireless networks. As MIMO and NOMA are important essential technologies for beyond 5G networks, the proposed works have huge potential for understanding and improving the operation of future generations of wireless networks, as such the resulting publications have attracted significant citations.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)
Impact Types Economic

Description EPSRC Responsive Mode
Amount £338,768 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R006385/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2018 
End 02/2021
Description UK-Gulf Institutional Link Grant
Amount £330,000 (GBP)
Organisation British Council 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2017 
End 03/2019
Title Convexity Analysis for Beamforming 
Description New convex optimization model has been generated to understand interference behaviour in beamforming in wireless networks. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The work has been published in a high impact IEEE journal. 
Description Inviated Talk (IMA mathematics in Signal Processing Conference, Birmingham) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I have given an invited talk on game theory to an audience from academia and industries with various background including engineering and mathematics. This has sparked interests among audience and follow on discussions.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
Description Plenary Talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I have given a plenary talk which included the results from this project on game theory for wireless communications at the IEEE International Conference on Signals and Systems (ICSigSys 2017), Bali, May 2017. This has attracted significant interests from participants of the conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017