The Impact of Space Division Multiplexing on Resource Allocation: A Unified Approach

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Recent advances in the area of wireless communications have revealed the emerging need for efficient wireless access in personal, local and wide area networks. Space division multiple access (SDMA) with smart antennas at the base station is recognized as a promising means of increasing system capacity and supporting rate-demanding services. However, the existence of SDMA at the physical layer raises significant issues at higher layers. In this paper, we attempt to capture the impact of SDMA on channel allocation at the media access control (MAC) layer. This impact obtains different forms in TDMA, CDMA and OFDMA access schemes, due to the different cochannel and inter-channel interference instances, as well as the different effect of corresponding channels (time slots, codes or subcarrier frequencies) on user channel characteristics. We follow a unified approach for these multiple access schemes and propose heuristic algorithms to allocate channels to users and adjust down-link beamforming vectors and transmission powers, with the objective to increase achievable system rate and provide QoS to users in the form of minimum rate guarantees. We consider the class of greedy algorithms, based on criteria such as minimum induced or received interference and minimum signal-to-interference ratio (SIR), as well as the class of SIR balancing algorithms. Our results indicate that this cross-layer approach yields significant performance benefits and that SIR balancing algorithms achieves the best performance.