Differential data-aided channel estimation for up-link massive SIMO-OFDM

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Pilot symbol assisted modulation (PSAM) is widely used to obtain the channel state information (CSI) needed for coherent demodulation. It allows the density of pilot symbols to be dynamically chosen depending on the channel conditions. However, the insertion of pilots reduces the spectral efficiency, more severely when the channel is highly time-variant and/or frequency-selective. In these cases a significant amount of pilots is required to properly track the channel variations in both time and frequency dimensions. Alternatively, non-coherent demodulation does not require any CSI for the demodulation independently of the channel conditions. For the particular case of up-link (UL) based on massive single input -multiple output (SIMO) combined with orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM), we propose to replace the traditional reference signals of PSAM by a new differentially-encoded data stream that can be non-coherently detected. The latter can be demodulated without the knowledge of the CSI and subsequently used for the channel estimation. We denote our proposal as hybrid demodulation scheme (HDS) because it exploits both the benefits of a coherent demodulation scheme (CDS) and a non-coherent demodulation scheme (NCDS) to increase the spectral efficiency. The mean squared error (MSE) of the channel estimation, bit error rate (BER), achieved throughput and complexity are analyzed to highlight the benefits of this differential data-aided channel estimation as compared to other approaches. We show that the channel estimation is almost as good as PSAM, while the BER performance and throughput are improved for different channel conditions with a very small complexity increase.
Channel estimation, Differential modulation, High-mobility, Massive SIMO, Non-coherent
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IEEE open journal of the communications society, vol. 20, 2020, pp. 976-989