Dual-Branch MRC Receivers under Spatial Interference Correlation and Nakagami Fading

Ralph Tanbourgi, Harpreet S. Dhillon, Jeffrey G. Andrews, Friedrich K. Jondral

Despite being ubiquitous in practice, the performance of maximal-ratio combining (MRC) in the presence of interference is not well understood. Because the interference received at each antenna originates from the same set of interferers, but partially de-correlates over the fading channel, it possesses a complex correlation structure. This work develops a realistic analytic model that accurately accounts for the interference correlation using stochastic geometry. Modeling interference by a Poisson shot noise process with independent Nakagami fading, we derive the link success probability for dual-branch interference-aware MRC. Using this result, we show that the common assumption that all receive antennas experience equal interference power underestimates the true performance, although this gap rapidly decays with increasing the Nakagami parameter $m_{\text{I}}$ of the interfering links. In contrast, ignoring interference correlation leads to a highly optimistic performance estimate for MRC, especially for large $m_{\text{I}}$. In the low outage probability regime, our success probability expression can be considerably simplified. Observations following from the analysis include: (i) for small path loss exponents, MRC and minimum mean square error combining exhibit similar performance, and (ii) the gains of MRC over selection combining are smaller in the interference-limited case than in the well-studied noise-limited case.

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