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/Job opportunities/Scalable Cell-free Massive MIMO Testbed for Ultra-Reliable 6G Wireless Communication Systems

Scalable Cell-free Massive MIMO Testbed for Ultra-Reliable 6G Wireless Communication Systems

PhD - Gent | More than two weeks ago

With your research in the lab, cell-free massive MIMO will no longer be just a great journal paper concept: it will be real, over-the-air, near real-time!

Motivated by the new era of automation and the explosion of the IoT, the future wireless connectivity landscape of 6G and beyond will feature low-complexity high-throughput, ultra-reliable and low-latency wireless communication systems. Such stringent requirements make the radio access design very challenging and some fundamental performance / complexity tradeoffs must be made. Example of such requirements are packet error rate in motion of 10-9 or lower with latency in the order of few µs-ms. In building up such robust wireless systems, the radio access architecture is typically distributed with large number of nodes cooperating to meet the target quality of service. For instance, cell-free massive MIMO systems, through coherent transmission, allow channel hardening by coherently beaming towards the mobile terminals.

However, there are several problems that need to be addressed before such distributed systems become practical and reliable. Cell-free massive MIMO systems present huge challenges in fronthauling, split processing, distributed synchronization, cost-effective system architecture, to name a few.

The goal of this PhD is to develop and test implementable solutions to these challenges. The student will develop an optimized small-scale cell-free massive MIMO testbed that can be easily and efficiently scaled-up for higher performance. Leveraging on the recent advances within IMEC on FPGA SDR OpenWiFi reference design (, the student will extend the platform to distributed MIMO. He will use the newly developed testbed to validate simple and more advanced concepts.

The successful PhD candidate will be part of a large IMEC team working on the research, implementation and prototyping of future communications systems: experts in digital, analog and mm-wave ASIC design, wireless/radar communications systems, PHY processing, MAC and higher layers, machine learning and optimization.


Required background: Verilog/VHDL implementation experience preferably on 4G/5G/Wi-Fi PHY modules, digital signal processing, wireless systems (OFDM and MIMO), wired fronthauling systems such as 10GbE, front-end architectures, antenna arrays


Type of work: 60% experimental, 20% simulation and modeling, 10% algorithms, 10% literature

Supervisor: Ingrid Moerman

Co-supervisor: Guy Torfs

Daily advisor: Xianjun Jiao, Mamoun Guenach

The reference code for this position is 2021-116. Mention this reference code on your application form.