Decontaminating Pilots in Massive MIMO Systems

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Executive Summary

Pilot contamination is known to severely limit the performance of large-scale antenna ("Massive MIMO") systems due to degraded channel estimation. This paper proposes a twofold approach to this problem. First, the authors show analytically that pilot contamination can be made to vanish asymptotically in the number of antennas for a certain class of channel fading statistics. The key lies in setting a suitable condition on the second order statistics for desired and interference signals. Second they show how a coordinated user-to-pilot assignment method can be devised to help fulfill this condition in practical networks. Large gains are illustrated in their simulations for even small antenna array sizes.

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