Joint Activity Detection, Channel Estimation, and Data Decoding for Grant-free Massive Random Access


In the massive machine-type communication (mMTC) scenario, a large number of devices with sporadic traffic need to access the network on limited radio resources. While grant-free random access has emerged as a promising mechanism for massive access, its potential has not been fully unleashed. In particular, the common sparsity pattern in the received pilot and data signal has been ignored in most existing studies, and auxiliary information of channel decoding has not been utilized for user activity detection. This paper endeavors to develop advanced receivers in a holistic manner for joint activity detection, channel estimation, and data decoding. In particular, a turbo receiver based on the bilinear generalized approximate message passing (BiG-AMP) algorithm is developed. In this receiver, all the received symbols will be utilized to jointly estimate the channel state, user activity, and soft data symbols, which effectively exploits the common sparsity pattern. Meanwhile, the extrinsic information from the channel decoder will assist the joint channel estimation and data detection. To reduce the complexity, a low-cost side information-aided receiver is also proposed, where the channel decoder provides side information to update the estimates on whether a user is active or not. Simulation results show that the turbo receiver is able to reduce the activity detection, channel estimation, and data decoding errors effectively, while the side information-aided receiver notably outperforms the conventional method with a relatively low complexity

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