Blind Channel Estimation for MIMO Systems via Variational Inference

16 Nov 2021  ·  Jiancheng Tang, Qianqian Yang, Zhaoyang Zhang ·

In this paper, we investigate the blind channel estimation problem for MIMO systems under Rayleigh fading channel. Conventional MIMO communication techniques require transmitting a considerable amount of training symbols as pilots in each data block to obtain the channel state information (CSI) such that the transmitted signals can be successfully recovered. However, the pilot overhead and contamination become a bottleneck for the practical application of MIMO systems with the increase of the number of antennas. To overcome this obstacle, we propose a blind channel estimation framework, where we introduce an auxiliary posterior distribution of CSI and the transmitted signals given the received signals to derive a lower bound to the intractable likelihood function of the received signal. Meanwhile, we generate this auxiliary distribution by a neural network based variational inference framework, which is trained by maximizing the lower bound. The optimal auxiliary distribution which approaches real prior distribution is then leveraged to obtain the maximum a posterior (MAP) estimation of channel matrix and transmitted data. The simulation results demonstrate that the performance of the proposed blind channel estimation method closely approaches that of the conventional pilot-aided methods in terms of the channel estimation error and symbol error rate (SER) of the detected signals even without the help of pilots.

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