Ubiquitous Cell-Free Massive MIMO Communications

Giovanni Interdonato, Emil Björnson, Hien Quoc Ngo, Pål Frenger, Erik G. Larsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

319 Citations (Scopus)
282 Downloads (Pure)


Since the first cellular networks were trialled in the 1970s, we have witnessed an
incredible wireless revolution. From 1G to 4G, the massive traffic growth has
been managed by a combination of wider bandwidths, rened radio interfaces,
and network densication, namely increasing the number of antennas per site [1].
Due its cost-eciency, the latter has contributed the most. Massive MIMO
(multiple-input multiple-output) is a key 5G technology that uses massive
antenna arrays to provide a very high beamforming gain and spatially
multiplexing of users, and hence, increases the spectral and energy eciency
(see [2] and references herein). It constitutes a centralized solution to densify a
network, and its performance is limited by the inter-cell interference inherent in
its cell-centric design. Conversely, ubiquitous cell-free Massive MIMO [3] refers to a distributed Massive MIMO system implementing coherent user-centric
transmission to overcome the inter-cell interference limitation in cellular networks and provide additional macro-diversity. These features, combined with the system scalability inherent in the Massive MIMO design, distinguishes ubiquitous cell-free Massive MIMO from prior coordinated distributed wireless systems. In this article, we investigate the enormous potential of this promising technology while addressing practical deployment issues to deal with the increased back/front-hauling overhead deriving from the signal co-processing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number197
Number of pages13
JournalEURASIP Journal On Wireless Communications and Networking
Publication statusPublished - 05 Aug 2019


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