Downlink Beamforming for Energy-Efficient Heterogeneous Networks with Massive MIMO and Small Cells

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Journal Article
IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, 2018, 17 (5), pp. 3386 - 3400
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© 2002-2012 IEEE. A heterogeneous network (HetNet) of a macrocell base station equipped with a large-scale massive multi-in multi-out (MIMO) antenna array overlaying a number of small cell base stations (small cells) can provide high quality of service (QoS) to multiple users under low transmit power budget. However, the circuit power for operating such a network, which is proportional to the number of transmit antennas, poses a problem in terms of its energy efficiency (EE). This paper addresses the beamforming design at the base stations to optimize the network EE under the QoS constraints and a transmit power budget. Beamforming tailored for weak, strong, and medium cross-tier interference HetNets is proposed. In contrast to the conventional transmit strategy for power efficiency in meeting the users' QoS requirements, which suggest the use of a few hundred antennas, it is found out that the overall network EE quickly drops if this number exceeds 50. It is found that, for a given number of antennas, HetNet is more energy efficient than massive MIMO when considering the overall energy consumption.
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