In Massive MIMO base stations (BSs), the hardware design needs to balance high spectral efficiency (SE) with low complexity. The level of hardware impairments (HWIs) indicates how strong the signal distortion introduced by hardware imperfections is. In particular, the analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) have an important impact on signal distortion and power consumption. This article addresses the fundamental problem of selecting the optimal hardware quality in the Massive MIMO space. In particular, we examine the optimal HWI and ADC bit allocation per BS antenna to maximize the SE. The results show that in co-located arrays with low channel gain variations across antennas, equal ADC bit allocation is optimal. In contrast, cell-free Massive MIMO systems benefit the most from optimizing the ADC bit allocation achieving improvements in the order of 2 [bit-per-channel-use] per user equipment when using regularized zero-forcing (RZF). In addition, when including the impact of power consumption in cell-free Massive MIMO with RZF, allocating low values of mixed ADC bit resolutions across the BS antennas can increase the energy efficiency up to 30% compared to equal ADC bit allocation.
|IEEE Transactions on Communications
|Early online date
|22 Mar 2021
|Early online date - 22 Mar 2021