Heterogeneous cellular networks with los and nlos transmissions-The role of massive MIMO and small cells

Qi Zhang, Howard H. Yang, Tony Q.S. Quek, Jemin Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


We develop a framework for downlink heterogeneous cellular networks with line-of-sight (LoS) and non-LoS transmissions. Using stochastic geometry, we derive tight approximation of average downlink rate that enables us to compare the performance between densifying small cells and expanding base station (BS) antenna arrays. Interestingly, we find that adding small cells into the network improves the downlink rate much faster than expanding antenna arrays at the macro BS. However, when the small cell density exceeds a critical threshold, the spatial densification will lose its benefits and further impair the network capacity. To this end, we provide the optimal small cell density that maximizes the rate via numerical results for practical deployment guidance. In contrast, expanding macro BS antenna array can always benefit the capacity until an upper bound caused by pilot contamination, and this bound also surpasses the peak rate obtained from the deployment of small cells. Furthermore, we find that allocating part of antennas to distributed small cell BSS works better than centralizing all antennas at the macro BS, and the optimal allocation proportion is also given numerically for practical configuration reference. In summary, this paper provides a further understanding on how to leverage small cells and massive MIMO in future heterogeneous cellular networks deployment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7996-8010
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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