Near- and Far-Field Communications with Large Intelligent Surfaces

Andrea de Jesus Torres, Luca Sanguinetti, Emil Björnson

This paper studies the uplink spectral efficiency (SE) achieved by two single-antenna user equipments (UEs) communicating with a Large Intelligent Surface (LIS), defined as a planar array consisting of $N$ antennas that each has area $A$. The analysis is carried out with a deterministic line-of-sight propagation channel model that captures key fundamental aspects of the so-called geometric near-field of the array. Maximum ratio (MR) and minimum mean squared error (MMSE) combining schemes are considered. With both schemes, the signal and interference terms are numerically analyzed as a function of the position of the transmitting devices when the width/height $L = \sqrt{NA}$ of the square-shaped array grows large. The results show that an exact near-field channel model is needed to evaluate the SE whenever the distance of transmitting UEs is comparable with the LIS' dimensions. It is shown that, if $L$ grows, the UEs are eventually in the geometric near-field and the interference does not vanish. MMSE outperforms MR for an LIS of practically large size.

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