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Technical Perspective: The Power of Joint Multiuser Beamforming

By Konstantina (Dina) Papagiannaki

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 57 No. 7, Page 96

Wireless communications have completely revolutionized the way we connect with people and access information. With the advent of Wi-Fi and 3G/4G cellular technologies, we can access the Internet from nearly everywhere around the world without the need for cables, and more importantly, while on the move. Increasingly powerful portable devices, such as tablets and smartphones, are further increasing the traffic demand on wireless infrastructures.

Increasing the capacity of a wireless network can happen in two ways: either through the authorized use of additional or wider frequency bands, or through the densification of the underlying wireless infrastructure through the deployment of an increasing number of Wi-Fi Access Points (APs) or cellular Base Stations (BTSs). The former solution is typically a very lengthy, expensive, and heavily regulated process. The latter bears a very significant investment cost on the part of the operator, currently undertaken by a number of cellular providers in their deployment of femtocell and picocells. When it comes to Wi-Fi networks, enterprises tend to spend a very significant amount of money deploying APs at a density that may be as high as one AP every four meters (commonly found in enterprise Wi-Fi deployments).


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