Stacked intelligent metasurfaces (SIM) represents an advanced signal processing paradigm that enables over-the-air processing of electromagnetic waves at the speed of light. Its multi-layer structure exhibits customizable increased computational capability compared to conventional single-layer reconfigurable intelligent surfaces and metasurface lenses. In this paper, we deploy SIM to improve the performance of multi-user multiple-input single-output (MISO) wireless systems with low complexity transmit radio frequency (RF) chains. In particular, an optimization formulation for the joint design of the SIM phase shifts and the transmit power allocation is presented, which is efficiently solved via a customized deep reinforcement learning (DRL) approach that continuously observes pre-designed states of the SIM-parametrized smart wireless environment. The presented performance evaluation results showcase the proposed method's capability to effectively learn from the wireless environment while outperforming conventional precoding schemes under low transmit power conditions. Finally, a whitening process is presented to further augment the robustness of the proposed scheme.
In this paper, we develop an effective degrees of freedom (EDoF) performance analysis framework specifically tailored for near-field XL-MIMO systems. We explore five representative distinct XL-MIMO hardware designs, including uniform planar array (UPA)-based with point antennas, two-dimensional (2D) continuous aperture (CAP) plane-based, UPA-based with patch antennas, uniform linear array (ULA)-based, and one-dimensional (1D) CAP line segment-based XL-MIMO systems. Our analysis encompasses two near-field channel models: the scalar and dyadic Green's function-based channel models. More importantly, when applying the scalar Green's function-based channel, we derive EDoF expressions in the closed-form, characterizing the impacts of the physical size of the transceiver, the transmitting distance, and the carrier frequency. In our numerical results, we evaluate and compare the EDoF performance across all examined XL-MIMO designs, confirming the accuracy of our proposed closed-form expressions. Furthermore, we observe that with an increasing number of antennas, the EDoF performance for both UPA-based and ULA-based systems approaches that of 2D CAP plane and 1D CAP line segment-based systems, respectively. Moreover, we unveil that the EDoF performance for near-field XL-MIMO systems is predominantly determined by the array aperture size rather than the sheer number of antennas.
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This paper investigates the unsourced random access (URA) problem with a massive multiple-input multiple-output receiver that serves wireless devices in the near-field of radiation. We employ an uncoupled transmission protocol without appending redundancies to the slot-wise encoded messages. To exploit the channel sparsity for block length reduction while facing the collapsed sparse structure in the angular domain of near-field channels, we propose a sparse channel sampling method that divides the angle-distance (polar) domain based on the maximum permissible coherence. Decoding starts with retrieving active codewords and channels from each slot. We address the issue by leveraging the structured channel sparsity in the spatial and polar domains and propose a novel turbo-based recovery algorithm. Furthermore, we investigate an off-grid compressed sensing method to refine discretely estimated channel parameters over the continuum that improves the detection performance. Afterward, without the assistance of redundancies, we recouple the separated messages according to the similarity of the users' channel information and propose a modified K-medoids method to handle the constraints and collisions involved in channel clustering. Simulations reveal that via exploiting the channel sparsity, the proposed URA scheme achieves high spectral efficiency and surpasses existing multi-slot-based schemes. Moreover, with more measurements provided by the overcomplete channel sampling, the near-field-suited scheme outperforms its counterpart of the far-field.
This article presents a novel multi-functional system for a sixth-generation (6G) wireless network with integrated sensing, communication, and powering (ISCAP), which unifies integrated sensing and communication (ISAC) and wireless information and power transfer (WIPT) techniques. The multi-functional ISCAP network promises to enhance resource utilization efficiency, reduce network costs, and improve overall performance through versatile operational modes. Specifically, a multi-functional base station (BS) can enable multi-functional transmission, by exploiting the same radio signals to perform target/environment sensing, wireless communication, and wireless power transfer (WPT), simultaneously. Besides, the three functions can be intelligently coordinated to pursue mutual benefits,i.e., wireless sensing can be leveraged to enable light-training or even training-free WIPT by providing side-channel information, and the BS can utilize WPT to wirelessly charge low-power devices for ensuring sustainable ISAC. Furthermore, multiple multi-functional BSs can cooperate in both transmission and reception phases for efficient interference management, multi-static sensing, and distributed energy beamforming. For these operational modes, we discuss the technical challenges and potential solutions, particularly focusing on the fundamental performance tradeoff limits, transmission protocol design, as well as waveform and beamforming optimization. Finally, interesting research directions are identified.
Benefitting from the vast spatial degrees of freedom, the amalgamation of integrated sensing and communication (ISAC) and massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) is expected to simultaneously improve spectral and energy efficiencies as well as the sensing capability. However, a large number of antennas deployed in massive MIMO-ISAC raises critical challenges in acquiring both accurate channel state information and target parameter information. To overcome these two challenges with a unified framework, we first analyze their underlying system models and then propose a novel tensor-based approach that addresses both the channel estimation and target sensing problems. Specifically, by parameterizing the high-dimensional communication channel exploiting a small number of physical parameters, we associate the channel state information with the sensing parameters of targets in terms of angular, delay, and Doppler dimensions. Then, we propose a shared training pattern adopting the same time-frequency resources such that both the channel estimation and target parameter estimation can be formulated as a canonical polyadic decomposition problem with a similar mathematical expression. On this basis, we first investigate the uniqueness condition of the tensor factorization and the maximum number of resolvable targets by utilizing the specific Vandermonde
This paper investigates the bit error rate (BER) minimum pre-coder design for an orthogonal time frequency space (OTFS)-based integrated sensing and communications (ISAC) system, which is considered as a promising technique for enabling future wireless networks. In particular, the BER minimum problem takes into account the maximized available transmission power and the required sensing performance. We devise the precoder from the perspective of delay-Doppler (DD) domain by exploiting the equivalent DD channel. To address the non-convex design problem, we resort to minimizing the lower bound of the derived average BER. Afterwards, we propose a computationally iterative method to solve the dual problem at low cost. Simulation results verify the effectiveness of our proposed precoder and reveal the interplay between sensing and communication for dual-functional precoder design.
This paper studies a secure cell-free integrated sensing and communication (ISAC) system, in which multiple ISAC transmitters collaboratively send confidential information to multiple communication users (CUs) and concurrently conduct target detection. Different from prior works investigating communication security against potential information eavesdropping, we consider the security of both communication and sensing in the presence of both information and sensing eavesdroppers that aim to intercept confidential communication information and extract target information, respectively. Towards this end, we optimize the joint information and sensing transmit beamforming at these ISAC transmitters for secure cell-free ISAC. Our objective is to maximize the detection probability over a designated sensing area while ensuring the minimum signal-to-interference-plus-noise-ratio (SINR) requirements at CUs. Our formulation also takes into account the maximum tolerable signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) at information eavesdroppers for ensuring the confidentiality of information transmission, and the maximum detection probability constraints at sensing eavesdroppers for preserving sensing privacy. The formulated secure joint transmit beamforming problem is highly non-convex due to the intricate interplay between the detection probabilities, beamforming vectors, and SINR constraints. Fortunately, through strategic manipulation and via applying the semidefinite relaxation (SDR) technique, we successfully obtain the globally optimal solution to the design problem by rigorously verifying the tightness of SDR. Furthermore, we present two alternative joint beamforming designs based on the sensing SNR maximization over the specific sensing area and the coordinated beamforming, respectively. Numerical results reveal the benefits of our proposed design over these alternative benchmarks.
The amalgamation of cell-free networks and reconfigurable intelligent surface (RIS) has become a prospective technique for future sixth-generation wireless communication systems. In this paper, we focus on the precoding and beamforming design for a downlink RIS-aided cell-free network. The design is formulated as a non-convex optimization problem by jointly optimizing the combining vector, active precoding, and passive RIS beamforming for minimizing the weighted sum of users' mean square error. A novel joint distributed precoding and beamforming framework is proposed to decentralize the alternating optimization method for acquiring a suboptimal solution to the design problem. Finally, numerical results validate the effectiveness of the proposed distributed precoding and beamforming framework, showing its low-complexity and improved scalability compared with the centralized method.
Next-generation wireless networks are expected to utilize the limited radio frequency (RF) resources more efficiently with the aid of intelligent transceivers. To this end, we propose a promising transceiver architecture relying on stacked intelligent metasurfaces (SIM). An SIM is constructed by stacking an array of programmable metasurface layers, where each layer consists of a massive number of low-cost passive meta-atoms that individually manipulate the electromagnetic (EM) waves. By appropriately configuring the passive meta-atoms, an SIM is capable of accomplishing advanced computation and signal processing tasks, such as multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) precoding/combining, multi-user interference mitigation, and radar sensing, as the EM wave propagates through the multiple layers of the metasurface, which effectively reduces both the RF-related energy consumption and processing delay. Inspired by this, we provide an overview of the SIM-aided MIMO transceiver design, which encompasses its hardware architecture and its potential benefits over state-of-the-art solutions. Furthermore, we discuss promising application scenarios and identify the open research challenges associated with the design of advanced SIM architectures for next-generation wireless networks. Finally, numerical results are provided for quantifying the benefits of wave-based signal processing in wireless systems.
The advent of the sixth-generation (6G) of wireless communications has given rise to the necessity to connect vast quantities of heterogeneous wireless devices, which requires advanced system capabilities far beyond existing network architectures. In particular, such massive communication has been recognized as a prime driver that can empower the 6G vision of future ubiquitous connectivity, supporting Internet of Human-Machine-Things for which massive access is critical. This paper surveys the most recent advances toward massive access in both academic and industry communities, focusing primarily on the promising compressive sensing-based grant-free massive access paradigm. We first specify the limitations of existing random access schemes and reveal that the practical implementation of massive communication relies on a dramatically different random access paradigm from the current ones mainly designed for human-centric communications. Then, a compressive sensing-based grant-free massive access roadmap is presented, where the evolutions from single-antenna to large-scale antenna array-based base stations, from single-station to cooperative massive multiple-input multiple-output systems, and from unsourced to sourced random access scenarios are detailed. Finally, we discuss the key challenges and open issues to shed light on the potential future research directions of grant-free massive access.