PhantomNet: Exploring optimal multicellular multiple antenna systems

Syed A. Jafar, Gerard J. Foschini, Andrea J. Goldsmith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


We present a network framework for evaluating the theoretical performance limits of wireless data communication. We address the problem of providing the best possible service to new users joining the system without affecting existing users. Since, interferencewise, new users are required to be invisible to existing Users, the network is dubbed PhantomNet. The novelty is the generality obtained in this context. Namely, we can deal with multiple users, multiple antennas, and multiple cells on both the uplink and the downlink. The solution for the uplink is effectively the same as for a single cell system since all the base stations (BSs) simply amount to one composite BS with centralized processing. The optimum strategy, following directly from known results, is successive decoding (SD), where the new user is decoded before the existing users so that the new users' signal can be subtracted out to meet its invisibility requirement. Only the BS needs to modify its decoding scheme in the handling of new users, since existing users continue to transmit their data exactly as they did before the new arrivals. The downlink, even with the BSs operating as one composite BS, is more problematic. With multiple antennas at each BS site, the optimal coding scheme and the capacity region for this channel are unsolved problems. SD and dirty paper (DP) are two schemes previously reported to achieve capacity in special cases. For PhantomNet, we show that DP coding at the BS is equal to or better than SD. The new user is encoded before the existing users so that the interference caused by his signal to existing users is known to the transmitter. Thus the BS modifies its encoding scheme to accommodate new users so that existing users continue to operate as before: they achieve the same rates as before and they decode their signal in precisely the same way as before. The solutions for the uplink and the downlink are particularly interesting in the way they exhibit a remarkable simplicity and an unmistakable, near-perfect, up-down symmetry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-604
Number of pages14
JournalEurasip Journal on Applied Signal Processing
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Broadcast channel
  • Channel capacity
  • Dirty paper coding
  • Duality
  • Multiple-input multiple-output systems
  • Successive decoding


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