Multiple Access for 5G New Radio: Categorization, Evaluation, and Challenges

Hyunsoo Kim, Yeon-Geun Lim, Chan-Byoung Chae, Daesik Hong

Next generation wireless networks require massive uplink connections as well as high spectral efficiency. It is well known that, theoretically, it is not possible to achieve the sum capacity of multi-user communications with orthogonal multiple access. To meet the challenging requirements of next generation networks, researchers have explored non-orthogonal and overloaded transmission technologies-known as new radio multiple access (NR-MA) schemes-for fifth generation (5G) networks. In this article, we discuss the key features of the promising NR-MA schemes for the massive uplink connections. The candidate schemes of NR-MA can be characterized by multiple access signatures (MA-signatures), such as codebook, sequence, and interleaver/scrambler. At the receiver side, advanced multi-user detection (MUD) schemes are employed to extract each user's data from non-orthogonally superposed data according to MA-signatures. Through link-level simulations, we compare the performances of NR-MA candidates under the same conditions. We further evaluate the sum rate performances of the NR-MA schemes using a 3-dimensional (3D) ray tracing tool based system-level simulator by reflecting realistic environments. Lastly, we discuss the tips for system operations as well as call attention to the remaining technical challenges.

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