As a revolutionary paradigm for controlling wireless channels, reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RISs) have emerged as a candidate technology for future 6G networks. However, due to the "multiplicative fading" effect, the existing passive RISs only achieve limited capacity gains in many scenarios with strong direct links. In this paper, the concept of active RISs is proposed to overcome this fundamental limitation. Unlike passive RISs that reflect signals without amplification, active RISs can amplify the reflected signals via amplifiers integrated into their elements. To characterize the signal amplification and incorporate the noise introduced by the active components, we develop and verify the signal model of active RISs through the experimental measurements based on a fabricated active RIS element. Based on the verified signal model, we further analyze the asymptotic performance of active RISs to reveal the substantial capacity gain they provide for wireless communications. Finally, we formulate the sum-rate maximization problem for an active RIS aided multi-user multiple-input single-output (MU-MISO) system and a joint transmit beamforming and reflect precoding scheme is proposed to solve this problem. Simulation results show that, in a typical wireless system, passive RISs can realize only a limited sum-rate gain of 22%, while active RISs can achieve a significant sum-rate gain of 130%, thus overcoming the "multiplicative fading" effect.
- Pub Date:
- March 2021
- Computer Science - Information Theory;
- Electrical Engineering and Systems Science - Signal Processing;
- Electrical Engineering and Systems Science - Systems and Control
- To appear in IEEE Trans. Commun., Dec. 2022. This paper proposes the concept of active RISs. Based on a fabricated active RIS element, the signal model of active RISs is validated by experimental measurements. The conference version including an active RIS-aided communication prototype is at: arXiv:2301.00161. Simulation codes are provided at: http://oa.ee.tsinghua.edu.cn/dailinglong/publications/publications.html