Rate-Splitting to Mitigate Residual Transceiver Hardware Impairments in Massive MIMO Systems

Anastasios Papazafeiropoulos, Bruno Clerckx, Tharmalingam Ratnarajah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Rate-splitting (RS) has recently been shown to provide significant performance benefits in various multiuser transmission scenarios. In parallel, the huge degrees-of-freedom provided by the appealing massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) necessitate the employment of inexpensive hardware, being more prone to hardware imperfections, in order to be a cost-efficient technology. Hence, in this paper, we focus on a realistic massive multiple-input single-output broadcast channel hampered by the inevitable hardware impairments. We consider a general experimentally validated model of hardware impairments, accounting for the presence of multiplicative distortion due to phase noise, additive distortion noise and thermal noise amplification. Under both scenarios with perfect and imperfect channel state information at the transmitter (CSIT), we analyze the potential robustness of RS to each separate hardware imperfection. We analytically assess the sum-rate degradation due to hardware imperfections. Interestingly, in the case of imperfect CSIT, we demonstrate that RS is a robust strategy for multiuser MIMO in the presence of phase and amplified thermal noise, since its sum-rate does not saturate at high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), contrary to conventional techniques. On the other hand, the additive impairments always lead to a sum-rate saturation at high SNR, even after the application of RS. However, RS still enhances the performance. Furthermore, as the number of users increases, the gains provided by RS decrease not only in ideal conditions, but in practical conditions with residual transceiver hardware impairments as well. Notably, although a deterministic equivalent analysis is employed, the analytical and simulation results coincide even for finite system dimensions. As a consequence, the applicability of these results also holds for current 'small scale' multiantenna systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7892949
Pages (from-to)8196-8211
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sept

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received October 16, 2016; revised February 17, 2017 and March 28, 2017; accepted March 31, 2017. Date of publication April 5, 2017; date of current version September 15, 2017. This work was supported by the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under Grants EP/N014073/1 and EP/N015312/1. The review of this paper was coordinated by Prof. D. B. da Costa. (Corresponding author: Anastasios Papazafeiropoulos.) A. Papazafeiropoulos and T. Ratnarajah are with the Institute for Digital Communications (IDCOM), University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, U.K. (e-mail: a.papazafeiropoulos; t.ratnarajah@ed.ac.uk).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 IEEE.


  • Deterministic equivalent analysis
  • massive MIMO
  • rate-splitting
  • regularized zero-forcing precoding
  • residual hardware impairments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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