Performance Comparison between Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface and Relays: Theoretical Methods and a Perspective from Operator

28 Jan 2021  ·  Qi Gu, Dan Wu, Xin Su, Jing Jin, Yifei Yuan, Jiangzhou Wang ·

Reconfigurable intelligent surface (RIS) is an emerging technique employing metasurface to reflect the signal from the source node to the destination node without consuming any energy. Not only the spectral efficiency but also the energy efficiency can be improved through RIS... Essentially, RIS can be considered as a passive relay between the source and destination node. On the other hand, a relay node in a traditional relay network has to be active, which indicates that it will consume energy when it is relaying the signal or information between the source and destination nodes. In this paper, we compare the performances between RIS and active relay for a general multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) system. To make the comparison fair and comprehensive, both the performances of RIS and active relay are optimized with best-effort. In terms of the RIS, transmit beamforming and reflecting coefficient at the RIS are jointly optimized so as to maximize the end-to-end throughput. Although the optimization problem is non-convex, it is transformed equivalently to a weighted mean-square error (MSE) minimization problem and an alternating optimization problem is proposed, which can ensure the convergence to a stationary point. In terms of active relay, both half duplex relay (HDR) and full duplex relay (FDR) are considered. End-to-end throughput is maximized via an alternating optimization method. Numerical results are presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithm. Finally, comparisons between RIS and relays are investigated from the perspective of system model, performance, deployment and controlling method. read more

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