Time-Reversal Massive Multipath Effect and Bandwidth Heterogeneity

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The proliferation of new mobile communication devices, such as smartphones and tablets, has led to an exponential growth in network traffic. The demand for supporting the fast-growing consumer data rates urges the wireless service providers and researchers to seek a new efficient radio access technology, which is the so-called 5G technology, beyond what current 4G LTE can provide. On the other hand, ubiquitous RFID tags, sensors, actuators, mobile phones and etc. cut across many areas of modern-day living, which offers the ability to measure, infer and understand the environmental indicators. The proliferation of these devices creates the term of the Internet of Things (IoT). For the researchers and engineers in the field of wireless communication, the exploration of new effective techniques to support 5G communication and the IoT becomes an urgent task, which not only leads to fruitful research but also enhance the quality of our everyday life.

Massive MIMO, which has shown the great potential in improving the achievable rate with a very large number of antennas, has become a popular candidate. However, the requirement of deploying a large number of antennas at the base station may not be feasible in indoor scenarios. Does there exist a good alternative that can achieve similar system performance to massive MIMO for indoor environment? In this dissertation, we address this question by proposing the time-reversal technique as a counterpart of massive MIMO in indoor scenario with the massive multipath effect.

It is well known that radio signals will experience many multipaths due to the reflection from various scatters, especially in indoor environments. The traditional TR waveform is able to create a focusing effect at the intended receiver with very low transmitter complexity in a severe multipath channel. TR's focusing effect is in essence a spatial-temporal resonance effect that brings all the multipaths to arrive at a particular location at a specific moment. We show that by using time-reversal signal processing, with a sufficiently large bandwidth, one can harvest the massive multipaths naturally existing in a rich-scattering environment to form a large number of virtual antennas and achieve the desired massive multipath effect with a single antenna. Further, we explore the optimal bandwidth for TR system to achieve maximal spectral efficiency. Through evaluating the spectral efficiency, the optimal bandwidth for TR system is found determined by the system parameters, e.g., the number of users and backoff factor, instead of the waveform types. Moreover, we investigate the tradeoff between complexity and performance through establishing a generalized relationship between the system performance and waveform quantization in a practical communication system. It is shown that a 4-bit quantized waveforms can be used to achieve the similar bit-error-rate compared to the TR system with perfect precision waveforms.

Besides 5G technology, Internet of Things (IoT) is another terminology that recently attracts more and more attention from both academia and industry. In the second part of this dissertation, the heterogeneity issue within the IoT is explored. One of the significant heterogeneity considering the massive amount of devices in the IoT is the device heterogeneity, i.e., the heterogeneous bandwidths and associated radio-frequency (RF) components. The traditional middleware techniques result in the fragmentation of the whole network, hampering the objects interoperability and slowing down the development of a unified reference model for the IoT. We propose a novel TR-based heterogeneous system, which can address the bandwidth heterogeneity and maintain the benefit of TR at the same time. The increase of complexity in the proposed system lies in the digital processing at the access point (AP), instead of at the devices' ends, which can be easily handled with more powerful digital signal processor (DSP). Meanwhile, the complexity of the terminal devices stays low and therefore satisfies the low-complexity and scalability requirement of the IoT. Since there is no middleware in the proposed scheme and the additional physical layer complexity concentrates on the AP side, the proposed heterogeneous TR system better satisfies the low-complexity and energy-efficiency requirement for the terminal devices (TDs) compared with the middleware approach.