Link to the University of Waterloo home page
Coding and Signal Transmission (CST) Laboratory

A step beyond MIMO: Media-based Modulation
(two US/PCT patents pending)

Report on arXiv

ISIT 2013: Paper
Presentation: Video Clip, PDF file, Power Point with Voice

ISIT 2014: Paper
Presentation: Video Clip, PDF file, Power Point with Voice

BSC 2016: Paper

ICC-2016: Paper

Amir K. Khandani, 519-8851211x35324


Wireless area is in need of breakthroughs that can be readily applied to product development. Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna systems, developed in parallel by AT&T and Bell Labs in late 90’s, resulted in a significant increase in throughput of wireless networks and soon found its way in many wireless products. After MIMO, a more recent breakthrough, namely Interference Alignment (IA) was introduced by my group in 2006. IA has attracted significant attention, however, in spite of extensive efforts by industry and academia, its practical implementation remains challenging.

This research work introduces a novel approach to wireless communications which can be readily used in practice and offers huge performance gains with respect to traditional MIMO, at the same time offering a lower complexity. The key idea is based on embedding the information to be transmitted in the dynamics of the transmission media (channel), thereby called media-based wireless, in contrast to the traditional systems which are based on embedding the information in the RF source to be transmitted over the given (fixed/static) channel. In particular, using a single transmit and K receive antennas, savings in energy in the range of tens of dBs with respect to a KxK traditional MIMO are reported. This gain is due to:

  • Additive information over receive antennas. This is similar to KxK MIMO, with the advantage of using a single transmit antenna.

  • Harvesting of wireless energy over multiple receive antennas while (unlike traditional MIMO) keeping the corresponding additive noise components independent.

  • Having an inherent diversity which improves with the transmission rate. This feature essentially converts a static Raleigh fading channel into an Additive White Gaussian Noise (AWGN) channel with a signal energy equal to the received energy averaged over fading statistics. This is unlike MIMO where diversity over a static fading channel can be improved only by increasing the number of antennas and this is achieved at the cost of a reduction in MIMO spectral efficiency (i.e., multiplexing gain).