From NTT Docomo Technical Journal:
CoMP is a technology which sends and receives signals from multiple sectors or cells to a given UE. By coordinating transmission among multiple cells, interference from other cells can be reduced and the power of the desired signal can be increased.
Coordinated Multi-point Transmission/Reception:
The implementation of intracell/inter-cell orthogonalization on the uplink and downlink in LTE Rel. 8 contributed to meeting the requirements of capacity and cell-edge user throughput. On the downlink, simultaneously connected UE are orthogonalized in the frequency domain. On the other hand, they are orthogonalized on the uplink, in the frequency domain as well as the code domain, using cyclic shift and block spreading. It is possible to apply fractional frequency reuse (A control method which assigns different frequency ranges for cell-edge UE) to control interference between cells semi-statically, but this is done based on randomization in LTE Rel. 8. Because of this, we are planning to study CoMP technology, which performs signal processing for coordinated transmission and reception by multiple cells to one or more UE, as a technology for Rel. 11 and later in order to extend the intracell/ inter-cell orthogonalization in LTE Rel. 8 to operate between cells.
Independent eNode B and Remote Base Station Configurations:
There are two ways to implement CoMP technology: autonomous distributed control based on an independent eNode B configuration, or centralized control based on Remote Radio Equipment (RRE) (Figure 7). With an independent eNode B configuration, signaling over wired transmission paths is used between eNode B to coordinate among cells. Signaling over wired transmission paths can be done with a regular cell configuration, but signaling delay and overhead become issues, and ways to increase signaling speed or perform high-speed signaling via UE need study. With RRE configurations, multiple RREs are connected via an optical fiber carrying a baseband signal between cells and the central eNode B, which performs the baseband signal processing and control, so the radio resources between the cells can be controlled at the central eNode B. In other words, signaling delay and overhead between eNode B, which are issues in independent eNode B configurations, are small in this case, and control of high speed radio resources between cells is relatively easy. However, high capacity optical fiber is required, and as the number of RRE increases, the processing load on the central eNode B increases, so there are limits on how this can be applied. For these reasons, it is important to use both distributed control based on independent eNode B configurations and centralized control based on RRE configurations as appropriate, and both are being studied in preparation for LTE-Advanced.
Downlink Coordinated Multi-point Transmission:
Downlink coordinated multi-point transmission can be divided into two categories: Coordinated Scheduling/ Coordinated Beamforming (CS/CB), and joint processing (Figure 8). With CS/CB, a given subframe is transmitted from one cell to a given UE, as shown in Fig. 8 (a), and coordinated beamforming and scheduling is done between cells to reduce the interference caused to other cells. On the other hand, for joint processing, as shown in Fig. 8 (b-1) and (b-2), joint transmission by multiple cells to a given UE, in which they transmit at the same time using the same time and frequency radio resources, and dynamic cell selection, in which cells can be selected at any time in consideration of interference, are being studied. For joint transmission, two methods are being studied: non-coherent transmission, which uses soft-combining reception of the OFDM signal; and coherent transmission, which does precoding between cells and uses in-phase combining at the receiver.
Uplink Multi-cell Reception:
With uplink multi-cell reception, the signal from a UE is received by multiple cells and combined. In contrast to the downlink, the UE does not need to be aware of whether multi-cell reception is occurring, so it should have little impact on the radio interface specifications.