Hybrid Analog and Digital Beamforming Design for Channel Estimation in Correlated Massive MIMO Systems

Javad Mirzaei, Shahram ShahbazPanahi, Foad Sohrabi, Raviraj Adve

In this paper, we study the channel estimation problem in correlated massive multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) systems with a reduced number of radio-frequency (RF) chains. Importantly, other than the knowledge of channel correlation matrices, we make no assumption as to the structure of the channel. To address the limitation in the number of RF chains, we employ hybrid beamforming, comprising a low dimensional digital beamformer followed by an analog beamformer implemented using phase shifters. Since there is no dedicated RF chain per transmitter/receiver antenna, the conventional channel estimation techniques for fully-digital systems are impractical. By exploiting the fact that the channel entries are uncorrelated in its eigen-domain, we seek to estimate the channel entries in this domain. Due to the limited number of RF chains, channel estimation is typically performed in multiple time slots. Under a total energy budget, we aim to design the hybrid transmit beamformer (precoder) and the receive beamformer (combiner) in each training time slot, in order to estimate the channel using the minimum mean squared error criterion. To this end, we choose the precoder and combiner in each time slot such that they are aligned to transmitter and receiver eigen-directions, respectively. Further, we derive a water-filling-type expression for the optimal energy allocation at each time slot. This expression illustrates that, with a low training energy budget, only significant components of the channel need to be estimated. In contrast, with a large training energy budget, the energy is almost equally distributed among all eigen-directions. Simulation results show that the proposed channel estimation scheme can efficiently estimate correlated massive MIMO channels within a few training time slots.

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