mpNet: variable depth unfolded neural network for massive MIMO channel estimation

Other publication - 2020


Taha Yassine
Luc Le Magoarou


Massive MIMO communication systems have a huge potential both in terms of data rate and energy efficiency, although channel estimation becomes challenging for a large number of antennas. Using a physical model allows to ease the problem by injecting a priori information based on the physics of propagation. However, such a model rests on simplifying assumptions and requires to know precisely the configuration of the system, which is unrealistic in practice. In this paper we present mpNet, an unfolded neural network specifically designed for massive MIMO channel estimation. It is trained online in an unsupervised way. Moreover, mpNet is computationally efficient and automatically adapts its depth to the SNR. The method we propose adds flexibility to physical channel models by allowing a base station to automatically correct its channel estimation algorithm based on incoming data, without the need for a separate offline training phase. It is applied to realistic millimeter wave channels and shows great performance, achieving a channel estimation error almost as low as one would get with a perfectly calibrated system. It also allows incident detection and automatic correction, making the base station resilient and able to automatically adapt to changes in its environment.