SOURCE IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials, Vol. 18, No.1, pp. 162-183, 2016
Published Date:Oct. 2016
As wireless devices boom and bandwidth-hungry applications (e.g., video and cloud uploading) get popular, today’s wireless local area networks (WLANs) become not only crowded but also stressed at throughput. Multiuser multiple-input– multiple-output (MU-MIMO), an advanced form of MIMO, has gained attention due to its huge potential in improving the performance of WLANs. This paper surveys random access-based medium access control (MAC) protocols for MU-MIMO-enabled WLANs. It first provides background information about the evolution and the fundamental MAC schemes of IEEE 802.11 Standards and Amendments, and then identifies the key requirements of designing MU-MIMO MAC protocols for WLANs. After this, the most representative MU-MIMO MAC proposals in the literature are overviewed by benchmarking their MAC procedures and examining the key components, such as the channel state information acquisition, decoding/precoding, and scheduling schemes. Classifications and discussions on important findings of the surveyed MAC protocols are provided, based on which, the research challenges for designing effective MU-MIMO MAC protocols, as well as the envisaged MAC’s role in the future heterogeneous networks, are highlighted.