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A study of precoding for LTE TDD using cell


specific reference signals
1

Fan Sun1 , Muhammad Imadur Rahman2 , David Astely2


Radio Access Technology Section, Department of Electronic Systems, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark;
2
Radio Access Technologies, Ericsson Research, Kista, Sweden
e-mail: fs@es.aau.dk; muhammad.imadur.rahman@ericsson.com; david.astely@ericsson.com

Abstract We investigate non-codebook-based multiple-input


multiple-output (MIMO) precoding schemes for the time division
duplex (TDD) mode of LTE where channel reciprocity could
be exploited. Previously proposed non-codebook-based precoding
schemes typically use UE specific reference signals for demodulation. Cell specific reference signals are however still transmitted
for the transmission of common control signaling, mobility
measurements and downlink channel quality measurements. In
order to save the resources occupied by UE specific reference
signals, and to simplify UE implementation, a non-codebookbased precoding scheme using cell-specific reference signals
is considered. Link throughput simulations indicate that such
scheme outperforms the scheme using UE specific reference
signals in the scenario with high transmit antenna correlation
and low UE velocity.
Index Terms MIMO precoding, LTE, TDD, cell specific
reference signals

I. I NTRODUCTION
Multi-antenna techniques can significantly increase the data
rates and reliability of a wireless communication system. The
performance is in particular improved if both the transmitter and the receiver are equipped with multiple antennas,
which results in a multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO)
communication channel. A core component in the 3GPPLTE (3GPP-Long Term Evolution) standard is the support of
MIMO antenna deployments and MIMO related techniques.
One of the features in LTE Release-8 is the support of a
spatial multiplexing scheme with possibly channel dependent
precoding. MIMO precoding is one of the techniques to
increase system throughput performance [1], [2].
LTE allows for both codebook based and non-codebook
based precoding [3]. In the codebook-based precoding case, a
set of precoder candidates is pre-defined at both the eNodeB
and the User Equipment (UE) sides. The precoder is selected
from the codebook by the UE and the index of the selected
precoder is fed back to the eNodeB, which may use this
precoder for transmission. This scheme could be used for both
FDD and TDD [1], [4]. In addition to the codebook-based
beamforming, LTE also supports more general codebook-free
beamforming. In this case, the eNodeB is not constrained to
select precoding vectors or matrices from a certain limited
set, and can exploit channel reciprocity to adjust the downlink
transmission weights from channel estimates obtained from
This work was performed when Fan Sun was with Radio Access Technologies, Ericsson Research, Kista, Sweden.

uplink transmissions. In the general case, this is applicable


for both FDD and TDD. For FDD however the instantaneous
channel in uplink and downlink are typically uncorrelated
and only long term statistical properties such as a time
averaged covariance matrix or direction of arrival can be used.
For TDD however, since uplink and downlink occur at the
same frequency, short-term precoding based on instantaneous
channel knowledge can be considered [5].
In LTE Release-8, downlink transmission using UE specific
reference signals, in here referred to as dedicated reference
signals (DRS), is supported for both FDD and TDD. With
DRS, codebook-free precoding can be implemented at the
transmitter. Since the individual antennas of the transmitter are
not visible to the UE and in contrast to the case with codebookbased precoding, arbitrary number of transmit antennas (e.g.
more than four antennas as of Release-8) at the eNodeB can
be used. However, cell specific reference signals (CRS) are
always transmitted since they are required by the UEs in the
cell for demodulation of the control signaling, for mobility
measurements as well as for channel quality measurements
for link adaptation and scheduling.
In this paper, we consider codebook-free precoding using
CRS for demodulation. This enables potential overhead saving
and does not require the UE to support channel estimation
for demodulation using DRS. Previously for WCDMA and
cdma2000 systems, downlink beamforming using common
pilots (similar to CRS in LTE system) has been studied [6], [7],
where the beams for data transmission are adapted to match
the common pilot beam.
The main goal of this work is to study the possibility of
using CRS for codebook-free precoding in TD-LTE systems,
compared to codebook-free precoding using DRS for demodulation. Thus, we concentrate on comparison of codebook-free
precoding using CRS compared to using DRS in this work.
The rest of this paper is organized as follows. In Section II, we describe the system model. The codebook-free
precoding scheme employing DRS is presented in Section III.
Section IV provides the details of the algorithm derivation
for the codebook-free precoding scheme employing CRS. The
investigation setup and the results are presented in Section V.
Conclusions and some future work are presented in Section VI.

978-1-4244-2519-8/10/$26.00 2010 IEEE

Common reference signals


L1/L2 control signal

II. S YSTEM M ODEL

A. Downlink Reference Signals


In a wireless communication system using coherent demodulation, reference signals are needed so that the receiver
can compensate for the effect of the channel between the
transmitter and the receiver. In LTE downlink [1], both CRS
and DRS are defined 1 .
1) CRS are used for CQI measurement, mobility measurements as well as for demodulation of control signaling.
There are up to four CRS patterns corresponding to
antenna port from 0 to 3. The first two ports are
shown in Figure 1. The CRS patterns on diverse antenna
ports are orthogonal to each other. CRS transmission is
illustrated in Figure 2. For CRS-based downlink channel
estimation, filtering and averaging are possible both in
the time domain as well as in the frequency domain
since the CRS are transmitted over the entire bandwidth
in all downlink subframes.

MUX
Shared data
channel

Channel
encoder

Data
modulation

MUX

Br no.2

Br no.Ntx
(Ntx=2,4 or 8)

Dedicated reference signals (DRS)

Fig. 2.

Antenna weight

CRS and DRS Insertions for LTE.

be precoded together with data signal with the same precoder as illustrated in Figure 2. At the UE, the effective
channel could be obtained via downlink channel estimation from DRS without the knowledge of the precoder.
Only one DRS pattern is defined on antenna port 5 in
Release-8, and hence spatial multiplexing is not possible.
The resource allocations on the time-frequency resource
grid are displayed in Figure 3. DRS are allocated on
the resource blocks where the corresponding Physical
Downlink Shared Channel (PDSCH) is mapped. For
DRS-based downlink channel estimation, the channel
estimator can only use filtering and averaging within the
resource block since the transmitter is allowed to change
the precoder with such frequency domain granularity.

R5

R5
R5

R5
R5

One antenna port

R0

R0

R0

Reference symbols
on this antenna port

R0
l

PDCCH

6 l

Two antenna ports

Fig. 3.
R1

R0

R0

R0

PDCCH

6 l

R1

R1
l

PDSCH

Fig. 1.

R1

R1

R0
0

R1

R1

R0

R1
l

6 l

PDCCH

PDSCH

Multiple downlink CRSs for LTE.

2) DRS, can be used for the terminal to estimate the effective channel, experienced by the data signal. DRS are to
1 For

R5

0
PDCCH

Not used for transmission


on this antenna port

R0

R0

PDSCH

R0

R5

R5

l
l

R5
R5

R0

R0

R5

R5

R0

R0

more information, please refer to [1, Chapter 16].

Br no.1

We will use the following notations. j = 1, E[] is the


expectation computation, Ea [] is the expectation computation
H
T
with respect to vector a, () and () denote the Hermitian
transpose and the transpose of a vector or matrix, I denotes
the identity matrix, {} and {} stand for the real part and
the imaginary part of a complex value respectively, |a| stands
for the absolute value of a, and ||a|| is the norm of the vector
a.

6l

PDSCH

Downlink DRS for LTE.

On the two-dimension time-frequency resource grid, there


are in total 168 resource units. The first one, two or three Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) symbols
are used to transmit control information in every downlink
subframe. For the case with three symbols for control signaling, we thus have 132 resource units in the remaining eleven
OFDM symbols which can be allocated for data transmission
except for the DRS and CRS overheads. Hence, if employing one CRS pattern (one antenna port), the available data
transmission proportions for DRS-assisted and CRS-assisted
= 114
codebook-free precoding schemes are 132612
168
168 and
1326
126
=
,
respectively.
168
168
B. Multiple Antenna Transceiver Model
We consider a MIMO system model considering one
OFDM sub-carrier (see Figure 4) for single user and single

stream (rank-1) transmission. s is the symbol to be transmitted,


w is the Ntx 1 precoder with Ntx being the number of
transmit antennas, and H is the Nrx Ntx MIMO channel
matrix with Nrx being the number of receive antennas. n is
the receiver Nrx 1 additive noise and interference vector. In
a cellular system, it is not likely to be white. We for simplicity
model it as spatially white in the following sections with each
independent entry following CN (0, N0 ). gH is the 1 Nrx
linear equalizer.

where Q() stands for the Q-Function, both and are


parameters decided by the modulation type, and SNR is the
instantaneous SNR after equalization. From Eq. (2) and (5),

n
s

x
Fig. 4.

+
H

gH

s = gH Hws + gH n.

MIMO System Model.

Baseband transmission is simply expressed as


y = Hws + n,

(1)

and the detected symbol is denoted as


s = gH y = gH (Hws + n).

(2)

C. Spatial Correlation Model


The spatial correlation matrices for the transmitter and the
receiver are denoted as Rtx and Rrx , respectively. We assume
that the fading is spatially uncorrelated at the UE and only
consider Rtx of size Ntx Ntx .
It is approximated that diverse sub-rays transmitted from
the antennas at the eNodeB have a small angle difference
and all clusters in the system give rise to the same angular
spread. From [8], the angle is assumed to follow the Laplace
distribution, L(0 , 2 ). In the situation with two transmit
antennas, 0 = 20o , = 8o and 0 = 20o , = 46o are
used to produce


1
0.4455 0.8093j
(3)
Rtx =
0.4455 + 0.8093j
1
and


Rtx =

0.0280 0.3069j

0.0280 + 0.3069j

By exploiting channel reciprocity in the TDD mode, the


precoder is computed from the available Channel State Information at the Transmitter (CSIT). Instantaneous Signalto-Noise Ratio (SNR) maximization is chosen as the design criterion, which is related to Symbol Error Rate (SER)
minimization. According to [10], for nearly all modulation
schemes, the SER is expressed as

(6)
SER = E[ Q( 2 SNR)],

The instantaneous SNR, SNR conditioned on H, is formed as




Es [(gH Hws)(gH Hws)H ]
SNR = Enw
En [(gH n)(gH n)H ]
(8)
 H H H

w H gg Hw
P
=
Enw
,
N0
gH g
where Es [ss ] = P and En [nnH ] = N0 I. Under perfect Channel State Information at the Receiver (CSIR) assumption, g =
Hw, the instantaneous SNR maximization criterion is chosen.
The constraint optimization problem with a per-antenna power
control requirement, indicating that every component in the
precoder should be smaller than a threshold, is formulated as


w = arg max wH HH Hw
w

1
s.t. |wi |
, i = 1, ..., Ntx .
Ntx

Algorithm 1: Equal Power Allocation (DRS)


Step 1: SNR maximization (total power control)

w = arg max wH HH Hw s.t. wH w = 1


w

w : singular vector of [HH H]


Step 2: Per-antenna equal power control
for i = 1, ..., Ntx do
wi =

III. C ODEBOOK - FREE P RECODING USING DRS


In this part, the codebook-free precoding design using DRS
is illustrated. Since DRS are multiplied with the same precoder
as for data transmission, the equivalent channel estimate can
be directly obtained at the UE to demodulate data without the
knowledge of precoder. The equalizer can be formed from the
downlink DRS channel estimate
gH = (Hw + nw )H ,
where nw is the channel estimation error vector.

(5)

(9)

Eq. (9) is a non-convex optimization problem [11], where


global optimum is hard to obtain within reasonable computation time. With a total power constraint wH w = 1 as
a relaxation, the precoder is explicitly the singular-vector
corresponding to the largest singular value of HH H [12]. The
design heavily depends on the CSIT availability [13].

(4)

in the high and low correlation scenarios, respectively. Detailed derivations can be found in [9].

(7)

wi
Ntx |wi |

end for

One suboptimal solution is denoted as equal power allocation (DRS), given in Algorithm 1. In this method, we
optimize the objective function with wH w = 1 first. Then the
components are scaled in the precoder to guarantee |wi | =
1 , i = 1, ..., Ntx .
Ntx
The equal power allocation (DRS) method is equivalent
to the optimum with equal power control (DRS) approach in

the situation with two transmit antennas. In this approach,


j
the precoder is first parameterized as [ 12 e2 ]T . Then the
optimization target is to find to maximize wH HH Hw.

Eq. (15) is also a non-convex problem. With the total


power constraint wH w = 1 instead of the per-antenna power
requirement, the precoder is

Optimum with equal power control (DRS)


w = arg max wH HH Hw
w

s.t. |wi | =

w=

1
, i = 1, ..., Ntx
Ntx

IV. C ODEBOOK - FREE P RECODING USING CRS


In this section, we present our design of the codebook-free
precoding scheme employing one CRS pattern (one antenna
port).
A. Precoder Design

(16)

Then we come at the suboptimal solution equal power allocation (CRS), shown in Algorithm 2. In the situation with two
transmit antennas, the equal power allocation (CRS) method
coincides with the approach optimum with equal power control
(CRS).

Algorithm 2: Equal Power Allocation (CRS)


Step 1: SNR maximization (total power control)


w = arg max wH HH (Hwp )(Hwp )H Hw
w

Recall the MIMO system model in Figure 4, the equalizer


can be reformed from the downlink channel estimate obtained
from one CRS pattern. A vector wp denotes the Ntx 1
CRS weights for multiple physical antennas associated with
one antenna port. Then (Hwp + np ) is the downlink channel
estimate from the single antenna port with np standing for the
channel estimation error vector. The equalizer is chosen as
gH = (Hwp + np )H .

(10)

The precoder design targets instantaneous SNR maximization. From the detected symbol
s = gH Hws + gH n,

(11)

the instantaneous SNR can be formed as




Es [(gH Hws)(gH Hws)H ]
SNR = Enp
En [(gH n)(gH n)H ]
 H H H

w H gg Hw
P
=
Enp
.
N0
gH g

(12)

(13)

(14)

are included as extra constraints.


Combining the optimization expression with the additional
constraints including the per-antenna power and the constellation rotation minimization requirements, the constraint
optimization problem is formed as


w = arg max wH HH (Hwp )(Hwp )H Hw
w

1
s.t. |wi |
, i = 1, ..., Ntx
Ntx
{(Hwp )H Hw} > 0, {(Hwp )H Hw} = 0.

HH Hwp
||HH Hwp ||

Step 2: Per-antenna equal power control


for i = 1, ..., Ntx do
wi =

wi
Ntx |wi |

end for

Optimum with equal power control (CRS)


w = arg max wH HH (Hwp )(Hwp )H Hw
1
, i = 1, ..., Ntx
Ntx
H
{(Hwp ) Hw} > 0, {(Hwp )H Hw} = 0

To minimize Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM)


constellation rotation (cross-talk between the in-phase and
the quadrature components),
{(Hwp )H Hw} > 0, {(Hwp )H Hw} = 0

w =

s.t. |wi | =

P w H (Hwp )(Hwp ) Hw
.
N0
(Hwp )H (Hwp )

s.t. wH w = 1, {(Hwp )H Hw} > 0, {(Hwp )H Hw} = 0

With perfect CSIR, g = Hwp . The SNR conditioned on


H is
SNR =

HH Hwp
.
||HH Hwp ||

(15)

B. Scaling Problem
The design criterion leads to mismatch between ||Hw|| and
||Hwp ||. Mismatch compensation is necessary to guarantee
reliable QAM demodulation performance. For the situation
with two highly correlated transmit antennas, the distribution
is estimated in Figure 5. In the following, it is assumed that the
UE has only knowledge about the average of the distribution
||Hw||
and uses it as a fixed compensation to form the
of ||Hw
p ||
equalizer. This is the same type of knowledge that is needed
by the UE as for the case power boosting is used for the CRS.
There are alternative approaches to avoid this problem at the
transmitter side and still have benefit of precoding on a system
level, but these are not further discussed in the present paper.
V. N UMERICAL EVALUATIONS
In this section, the codebook-free precoding schemes will
be evaluated in terms of link level throughput performance
taking into account the reference signal overhead.

B. Antenna Correlation

probability density function


0.18

Figure 6 shows the codebook-free scheme using CRS outperforms the codebook-free scheme using DRS in the situation
with high transmit correlation. For the scheme with DRS, high
transmit antenna correlation decreases the available degrees
of freedom and the diversity order. Meanwhile, according to
Figure 5, high transmit correlation facilitates the compensation
at the UE for the mismatch between ||Hw|| and ||Hwp ||.
However, the scheme with CRS is less efficient in the low
transmit correlation scenario, because the compensation for
the mismatch between ||Hw|| and ||Hwp || is not possible
when low spatial correlation is experienced across antennas.

0.16
0.14
0.12
0.1
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02
0

0.5

Fig. 5.

||Hw||
||Hwp ||

1.5

2.5

4.5

Noncodebook,QPSK,Precoding granularity=5 RB

x 10

estimated distribution: Ntx = 2, high correlation.

S YSTEM PARAMETERS
Carrier frequency
System bandwidth
Number of sub-carriers
Precoding granularity
Antenna configuration
Antenna calibration
Channel model
Transmit antenna spatial correlation
Uplink and downlink time difference
UE speed
Modulation and coding schemes
Synchronization
Re-transmission
Downlink channel estimation
CRS pattern
CRS weights

2.6 GHz
10 MHz
600
5 RB
2 Tx/2 Rx
Perfect
3GPP Pedestrian A Model
High correlation
Low correlation
4 ms
3 km/h or 30 km/h
QPSK,16 QAM,64 QAM
1
Turbo codec
3
Ideal
No
Perfect
One
wp = [1 0]T or [0 1]T

A. System Parameters
The system parameters are presented in Table I. The
assumptions are mainly 22 antenna configuration, perfect antenna calibration, rank-1 transmission, and no re-transmission.
We set the CRS weights for multiple physical antennas associated with one antenna port to wp = [1 0]T or [0 1]T . In
this paper, we make the assumption that the CSIT includes
knowledge to both UE antennas.
Quadrature Phase-Shift Keying (QPSK), rate 13 Turbo coding, highly correlated transmit antennas, 5 Resource Block
(RB) precoding granularity with perfect CSIT and CSIR are
used as default evaluation setups unless clearly specified. The
loss due to DRS allocation can be noticed in the maximum
achieved throughput compared to precoding using CRS.

Throughput (bps)

TABLE I

3.5
3
2.5
2
1.5
1

DRS, high transmit correlation


DRS, low transmit correlation
CRS, high transmit correlation
CRS, low transmit correlation

0.5
0
12

Fig. 6.

10

4
2
Es/No(dB)

Throughput results with high and low transmit correlations.

C. Modulation Schemes
Figure 7 indicates the results from the three modulation
levels in the situation with high transmit correlation. For each
modulation level, the scheme with CRS is preferable compared
to the scheme with DRS. Hence, the fixed mismatch compensation technique works for the high transmit correlation
situation.
D. CSIT Imperfection: Time Varying
The time-varying factor in the channel model ordinates
from the Doppler delay, which depends on the speed of the UE.
Different UE speeds are used to produce the results in Figure 8.
The results show that the increase of the UE speed has a
more severe impact on the codebook-free precoding using
CRS than the precoding with DRS in the sense of throughput
degradation. Thus, the scheme with CRS is more UE velocity
dependent. This indicates that the scheme with CRS can be
intended for the low UE velocity scenario.
VI. C ONCLUSION
In this paper, we have studied a codebook-free precoding
design using channel estimates from CRS. The design has
the potential of saving DRS overhead and possibly benefits

12

Noncodebook,Precoding granularity=5 RB

x 10

Throughput (bps)

10

DRS,QPSK
DRS,16QAM
DRS,64QAM
CRS,QPSK
CRS,16QAM
CRS,64QAM

0
15

10

Fig. 7.

0
Es/No(dB)

10

15

Throughput results for different modulation schemes.


6

4.5

Noncodebook,QPSK,Precoding granularity=5 RB

x 10

Throughput (bps)

3.5
3
2.5
2
1.5

DRS
DRS,3km/h
DRS,30km/h
CRS
CRS,3km/h
CRS,30km/h

1
0.5
0
12

10

Fig. 8.

4
2
Es/No(dB)

Throughput results for different UE speeds.

from channel estimation from CRS, which can employ timefrequency domain interpolation. Using numerical evaluations,
we show that CRS based codebook-free precoding is preferable in some scenarios, such as high transmit correlation and
low UE velocity situation, etc. It is understood that in those
scenarios, the DRS overhead can be saved and thus, total
system throughput could be improved.
To further investigate the potential of the CRS based
codebook-free precoding in system context, the impacts of the
downlink channel estimation process and the link adaptation,
the influences of the uplink channel sounding imperfection
and the calibration errors, etc, need to be studied. One can
also consider other precoding algorithms, possibly based on
other optimization criteria. Further, system level evaluations
are also needed to see the impact on system performance.
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