Integer-forcing architectures: cloud-radio access networks, time-variation and interference alignment
El Bakoury, Islam
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Next-generation wireless communication systems will need to contend with many active mobile devices, each of which will require a very high data rate. To cope with this growing demand, network deployments are becoming denser, leading to higher interference between active users. Conventional architectures aim to mitigate this interference through careful design of signaling and scheduling protocols. Unfortunately, these methods become less effective as the device density increases. One promising option is to enable cellular basestations (i.e., cell towers) to jointly process their received signals for decoding users’ data packets as well as to jointly encode their data packets to the users. This joint processing architecture is often enabled by a cloud radio access network that links the basestations to a central processing unit via dedicated connections. One of the main contributions of this thesis is a novel end-to-end communications architecture for cloud radio access networks as well as a detailed comparison to prior approaches, both via theoretical bounds and numerical simulations. Recent work has that the following high-level approach has numerous advantages: each basestation quantizes its observed signal and sends it to the central processing unit for decoding, which in turn generates signals for the basestations to transmit, and sends them quantized versions. This thesis follows an integer-forcing approach that uses the fact that, if codewords are drawn from a linear codebook, then their integer-linear combinations are themselves codewords. Overall, this architecture requires integer-forcing channel coding from the users to the central processing unit and back, which handles interference between the users’ codewords, as well as integer-forcing source coding from the basestations to the central processing unit and back, which handles correlations between the basestations’ analog signals. Prior work on integer-forcing has proposed and analyzed channel coding strategies as well as a source coding strategy for the basestations to the central processing unit, and this thesis proposes a source coding strategy for the other direction. Iterative algorithms are developed to optimize the parameters of the proposed architecture, which involve real-valued beamforming and equalization matrices and integer-valued coefficient matrices in a quadratic objective. Beyond the cloud radio setting, it is argued that the integer-forcing approach is a promising framework for interference alignment between multiple transmitter-receiver pairs. In this scenario, the goal is to align the interfering data streams so that, from the perspective of each receiver, there seems to be only a signal receiver. Integer-forcing interference alignment accomplishes this objective by having each receiver recover two linear combinations that can then be solved for the desired signal and the sum of the interference. Finally, this thesis investigates the impact of channel coherence on the integer-forcing strategy via numerical simulations.