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CQI Table Design to Support 256 QAM in Small Cell Environment

Qin Mu, Liu Liu, Lan Chen,Yu Jiang

DOCOMO Beijing Communications Laboratories Co.,Ltd. email: {mu,liul,chen,jiangy}@docomolabs-beijing.com.cn

Abstract —The mobile data traffic is expected to grow beyond

1000

times by 2020 compared with it in 2010. In order to support

1000

times of capacity increase, improving spectrum efficiency

is one of the important approaches. Meanwhile, in Long Term Evolution (LTE)-Advanced, small cell and hotspot are important scenarios for future network deployment to increase the capacity from the network density domain. Under such environment, the probability of high Signal to Interference plus Noise Ratio (SINR) region becomes larger which brings the possibility of introduc- ing higher order modulation, i.e., 256 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation(QAM) to improve the spectrum efficiency. Channel quality indicator (CQI) table design is a key issue to support 256 QAM. In this paper, we investigate the feasibility of 256 QAM by SINR geometry and propose two methods on CQI table design to support the 256 QAM transmission. Simulation results show proposed methods can improve average user equipment (UE) throughput and cell center UE throughput with almost no loss on cell edge UE throughput.

Index Terms—CQI table design, Higher Order Modulation, Small Cell, LTE-Advanced Release 12

I. I NTRODUCTION

LTE provides full IP packet-based radio access with low latency and adopts orthogonal frequency division multiple ac- cess (OFDMA) and single-carrier frequency division multiple access (SC-FDMA) in the downlink and uplink, respectively. The 3rd generation partnership project (3GPP) finalized the radio interface specifications for the next generation mobile system as long-term evolution (LTE) release 8 in 2008 [1], [2]. In Japan, the commercial service of LTE was launched in December, 2010 under the new service brand of ”Xi”(crossy) [3]. Meanwhile, in the 3GPP, there have been efforts targeting at establishing an enhanced LTE radio interface called LTE- Advanced (release 10 and beyond) [4], [5]and the specification for LTE-Advanced release 11 is now freezed and the specifi- cation for release 12 is started. Due to the diversity of smart phones,video service and high- speed data access, the mobile data traffic is expected to grow beyond 1000 times by 2020 compared with it in 2010 [6]. To achieve this target,improving the spectral efficiency,expanding wider bandwidth and increasing the network density are im- portant approaches. Statistics have shown more than 80% traffic load occurs in hotspot scenarios including outdoors and indoors. However, most of the typical form factor UEs in the coming few years will only have 2 receive antennas and 20MHz (or less than 40MHz) bandwidth capability. It will be very important to support the typical form factor UEs with high performance in

the hotspot and indoor scenario, deploying in high frequency spectrum with large expandable bandwidth [7]. Based on this situation, many operators consider deploying small cell in a dedicated carrier in the hotspot area to support very high throughput and the small cell enhancement topic is now studied in LTE-Advanced release 12. Generally the cover- age of a dedicated-carrier-deployed small cell layer is not con- tinuous, which provide the flexibility of hotspot-area-specific dynamic traffic adaption on the configuration of working car- riers/bandwidth, power on/off and downlink(DL)/uplink(UL) resource allocation within each small-cell [7]. Fig.1 is a typical small cell deployment scenario [8].

Macro cell eNode B Small cells cluster
Macro cell
eNode B
Small cells
cluster

Fig. 1. Typical small cell deployment scenario.

The prioritized scenario for small cell enhancement is deploying separate frequency for macro cell and small cell e.g, 2.0 G Hz for macro cell and 3.5G Hz for small cell. Due to the absence of strong intra-frequency interference from macro eNodeBs (eNBs), the small-cell layer is able to serve the UEs with a very high probability of high SINR experience. In this case, introducing a high-order-modulation such as 256 QAM is a possible way to reach high spectrum efficiency and peak data rate in downlink transmission [9], [10], [11]. While the feasibility of introducing a higher modulation scheme needs to be proved by further analysis. And how to support the new higher modulation scheme in current channel quality indicator (CQI) table without increased overhead needs careful consideration. This paper focuses these issues and the rest of this paper are organized as follow. Section II proves

978-1-4799-0308-5/13/$31.00 © 2013 IEEE

the feasibility of a higher order modulation scheme in small cell. Section III gives brief introduction of CQI table and CQI feedback in LTE system. Section IV presents 2 methods on the CQI table design. Simulation results are provided in section V to show the performance improvement in term of average user throughput, 95% user throughput and 5% user throughput with proposed methods. At last, we conclude this paper in section

VI.

II. F EASIBILITY OF HIGHER ORDER MODULATION SCHEME

IN SMALL CELLS

In small cell enhancement, as mentioned above the prior- itized deployment is separate frequency for macro cell and small cell. Compared with the co-channel case, the inter- ference from macro cell could be mitigated, then the total interference could be reduced significantly as shown in Fig.2. Based on the observation above, high SINR performance could

eNode B eNode B Co-channel scenario Separate channel scenario Signal Interference
eNode B
eNode B
Co-channel scenario
Separate channel scenario
Signal
Interference

Fig. 2. Comparison between co-channel scenario and separate frequency scenario.

be expected in separate frequency scenario. It can also be proved by the simulation result in Fig.3. In the simulation, for co-channel case, 2GHz are assigned to both macro cell and small cell. For separate frequency scenario, 2GHz is assigned to macro cell and 3.5 GHz is assigned to the small cell. According to the result, it is observed that more than 20 % UEs could achieve 20dB in separate channel scenario. For about 5% UEs, the SINR is even larger than 30 dB.

1 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 Macro only 0.1 smallcell(same smallcell 3.5G
1
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
Macro only
0.1
smallcell(same smallcell 3.5G (Macro2.0G) freq.as Macro)
0
-10
0
10
30
40
SINR(dB) 20
CDF

Fig. 3. SINR geometry.

Fig.4 shows the spectrum efficiency of different modulation coding schemes in different SINR situation. The spectrum ef-

ficiency is defined as (1-block error rate (BLER))*modulation order*coding rate. It is observed that, when the SINR is larger than 20 dB, 64 QAM which is current highest modulation scheme in LTE system provides little gain, while 256 QAM could achieve higher spectrum efficiency when the SINR is higher than 20dB. According to the result of Fig.3 and Fig.4, it is observed that about 20% UEs could benefit from 256 QAM.

7 16QAM QPSK 6 256QAM 64QAM 5 4 3 2 1 0 -10 0 20
7
16QAM QPSK
6
256QAM 64QAM
5
4
3
2
1
0
-10
0
20
30
SINR(dB) 10
Spectral efficiency

Fig. 4. Spectral efficiency.

Based on the simulation results and analysis above, it is clear that a significant portion of UEs in small cell could benefit from higher order modulation schemes. Therefore, significant performance improvement could be expected by introducing a higher modulation scheme in small cell.

III. CQI TABLE AND CQI FEEDBACK IN LTE

In LTE release 8 to release 11, quadrature phase shift keying

(QPSK), 16 QAM and 64 QAM have been specified for data

transmission. And these modulation schemes are implemented

in the CQI table.

TABLE I

CQI TABLE IN LTE R EL 8-R EL 11

CQI index

modulation

code rateX1024

efficiency

0

 

out of range

1

QPSK

78

0.1523

2

QPSK

120

0.2344

3

QPSK

193

0.3770

4

QPSK

308

0.6016

5

QPSK

449

0.8770

6

QPSK

602

1.1758

7

16QAM

378

1.4766

8

16QAM

490

1.9141

9

16QAM

616

2.4063

10

64QAM

466

2.7305

11

64QAM

567

3.3223

12

64QAM

666

3.9023

13

64QAM

772

4.5234

14

64QAM

873

5.1152

15

64QAM

948

5.5547

The CQI table is mainly used to assist the channel quality feedback from UEs to eNB. This table includes 16 levels of different modulation and coding schemes, as shown in Table I. UEs feed back the effective SINR by conveying the CQI

index with 4 bits. The mapping from effective SINR range to

a corresponding CQI value is carried out such that a BLER lower than 0.1 is achieved.

IV. N EW CQI TABLE DESIGN

Considering the error vector magnitude (EVM) effect and using similar SINR step between 2 CQI indexes we assume 4 new 256 QAM and the related coding schemes will be introduced in CQI table. The original CQI table combined with the newly introduced content will form an extended CQI table as shown in Table.II.

TABLE II

E XTENDED CQI TABLE WITH 256 QAM

CQI index

modulation

code rateX1024

efficiency

0

 

out of range

1

QPSK

78

0.1523

2

QPSK

120

0.2344

3

QPSK

193

0.3770

4

QPSK

308

0.6016

5

QPSK

449

0.8770

6

QPSK

602

1.1758

7

16QAM

378

1.4766

8

16QAM

490

1.9141

9

16QAM

616

2.4063

10

64QAM

466

2.7305

11

64QAM

567

3.3223

12

64QAM

666

3.9023

13

64QAM

772

4.5234

14

64QAM

873

5.1152

15

64QAM

948

5.5547

16

256

QAM

772

6.0312

17

256

QAM

873

6.7969

18

256

QAM

948

7.3984

19

256

QAM

975

7.6171

However, such an extended table also requires more CQI feedback overhead due to larger table length. In order to avoid additional feedback overhead, smart CQI table redesign is needed to accommodate the new entries of 256 QAM and maintain the same length with the legacy table. One direction

is to remove some modulation and coding schemes from the

extended table. But which contents should be removed without impact on performance gain needs careful investigation. Here

we consider 2 methods to generate the new table based on remove.

A. Straightforward Method: Linear Remove

Linear remove is one straightforward method. The key point

is to remove some modulation and coding schemes from the

extended table linearly, then form the left content as a new CQI table. Table.III is an example. In the example, legacy CQI index 2,7,12,17 are removed from the extended CQI table.

Linear remove is a simple method but lacks effectiveness in throughput due to no consideration on the SINR geometry and spectral efficiency loss. To guarantee the performance gain, we

TABLE III

N EW CQI TABLE FOR STRAIGHTFORWARD METHOD

legacy

new

modulation

code rate

efficiency

CQI index

CQI index

X 1024

0

0

 

out of range

1

1

QPSK

78

0.1523

3

2

QPSK

193

0.3770

4

3

QPSK

308

0.6016

5

4

QPSK

449

0.8770

6

5

QPSK

602

1.1758

8

6

16QAM

490

1.9141

9

7

16QAM

616

2.4063

10

8

64QAM

466

2.7305

11

9

64QAM

567

3.3223

13

10

64QAM

772

4.5234

14

11

64QAM

873

5.1152

15

12

64QAM

948

5.5547

16

13

256

QAM

772

6.0312

18

14

256

QAM

948

7.3984

19

15

256

QAM

975

7.6171

proposed another novel CQI table generation method with the

consideration on SINR geometry and spectral efficiency loss.

B. Proposed method : SINR geometry and spectral efficiency

based remove

To guarantee larger performance gain, the performance gain loss caused by removing some CQI indexes should be minimized. Here we propose a theory to model the system performance gain loss and an algorithm to generate new table for larger performance gain based on the this model. 1) Performance gain loss modeling: As introduced in sec- tion IV, each CQI index corresponds to a set of effective SINR range. Here the SINR range for CQI index i is denoted as [SINR i , SINR i+1 ). Assume the cumulative distribution function of SINR in small is denoted by F (x). According to the effective SINR range for each CQI index and the SINR geometry in small cell, it is easy to obtain the possibility of each CQI index to be used in this small cell . In this method, the possibility of CQI index i to be used is denoted as P i .

P i = F(SINR i+1 ) F(SINR i ) (1)

If CQI index i is removed from the extended table, the effective SINR range for CQI index i 1 is changed as [SINR i1 , SINR i+1 ). That is to say, if the SINR of one UE is within the range of [SINR i , SINR i+1 ). UE will report CQI index i 1 to the eNB. In this case less accurate SINR report is caused compared with the reporting CQI index i. If eNBs make scheduling decision based on the less accurate report , throughput loss is caused. And the throughput loss can be expressed as

C loss = (SE i SE i1 ) N RB (2)

In the equation, SE i and SE i1 represent the spectral effi- ciency corresponding to CQI index i and i 1 respectively. And N RB denotes the number of resource blocks (RBs) assigned to this UE. For simplicity,N RB can be assumed as

1. Considering the possibility of CQI index i to be used, the final expression of throughput loss is modeled as

C loss = (SE i SE i1 ) N RB P i (3)

2) Algorithm to generate new CQI table: With the aid of the performance gain loss model, we proposed the heuristic algorithm for the new CQI table generation. The key point of this algorithm is to search the CQI index which cause smallest C loss and remove it. Then update the CQI table and do the same operation until the length of the new table becomes the same as the legacy table.

Algorithm 1 heuristic algorithm for new CQI table generation

Initialization:

L Length of extended CQI table

l Length of legacy CQI table

F (x) SINR geometry in small cell

[SINR i , SINR i+1 ) SINR range for CQI index i(0

i L 1)

SE i Spectral efficiency for CQI index i(0 i L1) Iteration:

Obtain the possibility of each CQI index to be used

 

i = F(SINR i+1 )

P

F(SINR i )

1:

while L > l do

2:

for i = 1 : L 1

do

3:

C

loss = (SE i SE i1 ) N RB P i

4:

i = arg min(C loss )

5:

end for

6:

Remove CQI index i L = L 1

7:

P i1 = P i + P i1

 

8:

Update the CQI table

9: end while Output:

New CQI table

TABLE IV

N EW CQI TABLE BASED ON PROPOSED METHOD

legacy

new

modulation

code rate

efficiency

CQI index

CQI index

X1024

0

0

 

out of range

3

1

QPSK

193

0.3770

5

2

QPSK

449

0.8770

6

3

QPSK

602

1.1758

7

4

16QAM

378

1.4766

8

5

16QAM

490

1.9141

9

6

16QAM

616

2.4063

10

7

64QAM

466

2.7305

11

8

64QAM

567

3.3223

12

9

64QAM

666

3.9023

13

10

64QAM

772

4.5234

14

11

64QAM

873

5.1152

15

12

64QAM

948

5.5547

16

13

256

QAM

772

6.0312

17

14

256

QAM

873

6.7969

18

15

256

QAM

948

7.3984

Based on the SINR geometry in Fig.3 and the spectral efficiency in Table.II, a new CQI table is generated by using

proposed method as shown in Table.IV. In this new table, the original CQI index 1,2,4,19 are removed from the extended table.

V. S IMULATION AND ANALYSIS

To verify the performance improvement in the system by in- troducing higher order modulation scheme with the 2 methods, system level simulation is performed with the consideration of EVM. The baseline for comparison is LTE-A SU-MIMO performance without 256QAM. User average throughput, 95% user throughput which could reflect the cell center UE perfor- mance and 5% user throughput which could reflect the cell edge user performance are chosen as the metrics. As small cell mainly serve the UEs with low speed, so this simulation only focuses low speed environment. And the detailed parameters for simulation are summarized in Table.V.

TABLE V

S IMULATION PARAMETERS

Deployment scenarios

Heterogeneous network with small cells within the macro cell coverage

Carrier configuration

Macro@ 2GHz Small cell @3.5GHz

System bandwidth

10M Hz

Channel model

ITU-UMa for Macro ITU-UMi for small cell

Number of UEs

30 UE (per macro area)

DL transmission scheme

SU-MIMO with rank adaptation

UE speed

3km/h

Tx power (Ptotal)

Macro:46dBm

Small cell: 30dBm

Traffic model

Full buffer

Number of TX and RX antennas

For macro: 2x2 For small cell: 2x2

Antenna configuration

CPA

UE receiver

MMSE

Feedback scheme

Rel-8 RI/CQI/PMI based on Rel-8 2Tx codebook

EVM

28dB (4%)

It can be observed from the simulation results that gain can be obtained in both methods. Especially for the 95% UE with good channel condition, up to about 19% relative gain could be achieved in straightforward method and proposed method. This is because there is a large portion of these UEs could benefit from 256 QAM. For average user throughput, the relative gain are about 10.27% and 7.02% in proposed method and straightforward method respectively. As for the cell edge gain, it is not significant. This is because cell edge UEs have less chance of reaching high SINR to support 256 QAM transmission. To compare the performance between straightforward method and proposed method, it can be observed that similar gain can be achieved for the 95% user throughput due to the similar introduction of 256 QAM. While for average UE throughput, proposed method exhibits much better perfor- mance. The reason is that proposed method can guarantee the performance gain by taking the SINR geometry and spectral efficiency into consideration. As for the cell edge UE gain, both methods display similar performance. More CQI indexes

16.5 16 15.5 15 19.02% 19.8% 14.5 14 13.5 13 12.5 12 Baseline Straightforward method
16.5
16
15.5
15
19.02%
19.8%
14.5
14
13.5
13
12.5
12
Baseline
Straightforward method Proposed method
Fig. 5. 95%UE(Cell center UE) throughput.
6.5
6
7.1%
10.2 %
5.5
5
Baseline
Straightforward method Proposed method
Fig. 6. Average UE throughput.
1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0
Baseline
Straightforward method Proposed method
5%-ile UE throughput (Mbps)
Average UE throughput(Mbps)
95%-ile UE throughput(Mbps)

Fig. 7. 5% UE (Cell edge UE) throughput.

for low SINR are removed in proposed method, it seems that

proposed method should exhibits worse performance. In fact,

there is little chance to use these removed CQI indexes due

to good SINR performance in small cell, which cause little

impact on the performance.

VI. C ONCLUSION

We discussed improving the spectral efficiency by introduc-

ing higher order modulation scheme,i.e.,256 QAM in small

cell. We firstly analyze the feasibility of 256 QAM. According

to the analysis, about 20% UEs in small cell could benefit

from 256 QAM. Then we propose 2 methods on the CQI

table design to support the 256 QAM transmission in current

system. At last system-level simulations were run to obtain

system level results on the benefits of introducing 256QAM with 2 proposed methods. The results reveal that proposed methods could achieve significant gain in term of average user throughput and 95% user throughput with little loss on the 5% user throughput.

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