Short-Packet Communications for MIMO NOMA Systems over Nakagami-m Fading: BLER and Minimum Blocklength Analysis

Recently, ultra-reliable and low-latency communications (URLLC) using short-packets has been proposed to fulfill the stringent requirements regarding reliability and latency of emerging applications in 5G and beyond networks. In addition, multiple-input multiple-output non-orthogonal multiple access (MIMO NOMA) is a potential candidate to improve the spectral efficiency, reliability, latency, and connectivity of wireless systems. In this paper, we investigate short-packet communications (SPC) in a multiuser downlink MIMO NOMA system over Nakagami-m fading, and propose two antenna-user selection methods considering two clusters of users having different priority levels. In contrast to the widely-used long data-packet assumption, the SPC analysis requires the redesign of the communication protocols and novel performance metrics. Given this context, we analyze the SPC performance of MIMO NOMA systems using the average block error rate (BLER) and minimum blocklength, instead of the conventional metrics such as ergodic capacity and outage capacity. More specifically, to characterize the system performance regarding SPC, asymptotic (in the high signal-to-noise ratio regime) and approximate closed-form expressions of the average BLER at the users are derived. Based on the asymptotic behavior of the average BLER, an analysis of the diversity order, minimum blocklength, and optimal power allocation is carried out. The achieved results show that MIMO NOMA can serve multiple users simultaneously using a smaller blocklength compared with MIMO OMA, thus demonstrating the benefits of MIMO NOMA for SPC in minimizing the transmission latency. Furthermore, our results indicate that the proposed methods not only improve the BLER performance but also guarantee full diversity gains for the respective users.

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