Blind channel estimation for massive MIMO

Ture Peken, Garrett Vanhoy, Tamal Bose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In order to scale with the demand of higher data rates and improved spectral efficiency in next generation wireless communication systems, a large-scale multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) technology called massive MIMO has been proposed. In massive MIMO, appropriate signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) values can be achieved by the addition of base station (BS) antennas in place of increasing transmit power. Pilot-based channel estimation is widely used in conventional MIMO systems, where pilot signal sequences are sent from the user terminals (UTs) to the BS to estimate the channel. In massive MIMO-based cellular networks, channel estimation in a given cell will be impaired by the pilot signal sequences transmitted by users in other cells—rendering the addition of antennas or transmit power ineffective. This effect is called pilot contamination. Therefore, pilot-based channel estimation limits the performance of massive MIMO. Semi-blind and blind methods are alternatives to pilot-based channel estimation that perform channel estimation with short pilot signal sequences and without pilot signal sequences, respectively. Blind channel estimation is one of the promising solutions to the pilot contamination problem in massive MIMO. This paper compares, using MATLAB simulations of a cluster-based COST 2100 channel model, the performance of pilot-based, semi-blind, blind, and adaptive-blind channel estimation methods. The pilot contamination effect on different channel estimation methods and how channel estimation methods can be used to overcome pilot contamination are shown. Finally, an adaptive independent component analysis (ICA)-based channel estimation method, which outperforms conventional ICA in terms of computational complexity, is proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-266
Number of pages10
JournalAnalog Integrated Circuits and Signal Processing
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • Adaptive-blind channel estimation
  • Blind channel estimation
  • Massive MIMO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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