FlexCore: Massively Parallel and Flexible Processing for Large MIMO Access Points


Christopher Husmann, Georgios Georgis, and Konstantinos Nikitopoulos, University of Surrey; Kyle Jamieson, Princeton University and University College London


Large MIMO base stations remain among wireless network designers’ best tools for increasing wireless throughput while serving many clients, but current system designs, sacrifice throughput with simple linear MIMO detection algorithms. Higher-performance detection techniques are known, but remain off the table because these systems parallelize their computation at the level of a whole OFDM subcarrier, sufficing only for the less demanding linear detection approaches they opt for. This paper presents FlexCore, the first computational architecture capable of parallelizing the detection of large numbers of mutually-interfering information streams at a granularity below individual OFDM subcarriers, in a nearly-embarrassingly parallel manner while utilizing any number of available processing elements. For 12 clients sending 64-QAM symbols to a 12-antenna base station, our WARP testbed evaluation shows similar network throughput to the state-of-the-art while using an order of magnitude fewer processing elements. For the same scenario, our combined WARP-GPU testbed evaluation demonstrates a 19x computational speedup, with 97% increased energy efficiency when compared with the state of the art. Finally, for the same scenario, an FPGA-based comparison between FlexCore and the state of the art shows that FlexCore can achieve up to 96% better energy efficiency, and can offer up to 32x the processing throughput.

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@inproceedings {201551,
author = {Christopher Husmann and Georgios Georgis and Konstantinos Nikitopoulos and Kyle Jamieson},
title = {{FlexCore}: Massively Parallel and Flexible Processing for Large {MIMO} Access Points},
booktitle = {14th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI 17)},
year = {2017},
isbn = {978-1-931971-37-9},
address = {Boston, MA},
pages = {197--211},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/nsdi17/technical-sessions/presentation/husmann},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = mar

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