Intelligent Reflecting Surface-Assisted Multiple Access with User Pairing: NOMA or OMA?

01/24/2020 ∙ by Beixiong Zheng, et al. ∙ 0

The integration of intelligent reflecting surface (IRS) to multiple access networks is a cost-effective solution for boosting spectrum/energy efficiency and enlarging network coverage/connections. However, due to the new capability of IRS in reconfiguring the wireless propagation channels, it is fundamentally unknown which multiple access scheme is superior in the IRS-assisted wireless network. In this letter, we pursue a theoretical performance comparison between non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) and orthogonal multiple access (OMA) in the IRS-assisted downlink communication, for which the transmit power minimization problems are formulated under the discrete unit-modulus reflection constraint on each IRS element. We analyze the minimum transmit powers required by different multiple access schemes and compare them numerically, which turn out to not fully comply with the stereotyped superiority of NOMA over OMA in conventional systems without IRS. Moreover, to avoid the exponential complexity of the brute-force search for the optimal discrete IRS phase shifts, we propose a low-complexity solution to achieve near-optimal performance.

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