Impact of Pilot Overhead and Channel Estimation on the Performance of Massive MIMO

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This paper studies the impact of additional pilot overhead for covariance matrix estimation in a time-division duplexed (TDD) massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) system. We choose average uplink (UL) and downlink (DL) spectral efficiencies (SEs) as performance metrics for the massive MIMO system, and derive closed form expressions for them in terms of the additional pilot overhead. The expressions are derived by considering linear minimum mean squared error (LMMSE)-type and element-wise LMMSE-type channel estimates that represent LMMSE and element-wise LMMSE with estimated covariance matrices, respectively. Using these expressions, a detailed theoretical analysis of SE behavior as a function of pilot overhead for both LMMSE-type and element-wise LMMSE-type channel estimation are presented, followed by simulations, which also demonstrate and validate theoretical results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8242-8255
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number12
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Channel estimation
  • channel estimation
  • Coherence
  • Contamination
  • covariance estimation
  • Covariance matrices
  • Estimation
  • Massive MIMO
  • massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO)
  • Measurement
  • pilot contamination
  • Spectral efficiency


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