Fully-Connected vs. Sub-Connected Hybrid Precoding Architectures for mmWave MU-MIMO
Hybrid digital analog (HDA) beamforming has attracted considerable attention in practical implementation of millimeter wave (mmWave) multiuser multiple-input multiple-output (MU-MIMO) systems due to its low power consumption with respect to its digital baseband counterpart. The implementation cost, performance, and power efficiency of HDA beamforming depends on the level of connectivity and reconfigurability of the analog beamforming network. In this paper, we investigate the performance of two typical architectures for HDA MU-MIMO, i.e., the fully-connected (FC) architecture where each RF antenna port is connected to all antenna elements of the array; and the one-stream-per-subarray (OSPS) architecture where the RF antenna ports are connected to disjoint subarrays. We jointly consider the initial beam acquisition phase and data communication phase, such that the latter takes place by using the beam direction information obtained in the former phase. For each phase, we propose our own BA and precoding schemes that outperform the counterparts in the literature. We also evaluate the power efficiency of the two HDA architectures taking into account the practical hardware impairments, e.g., the power dissipation at different hardware components as well as the potential power backoff under typical power amplifier (PA) constraints. Numerical results show that the two architectures achieve similar sum spectral efficiency, but the OSPS architecture outperforms the FC case in terms of hardware complexity and power efficiency, only at the cost of a slightly longer time of initial beam acquisition.
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