Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP) is a Release 11 and beyond feature (formally part of Release 10) that leverages the simultaneous support of multiple transmission points to serve mobile devices in the high interference areas that occur between cells (inter-cell) and between sectors within a given cell (intra-cell). In theory it can provide stellar gains on the order of high double-digit percentages for edge of cell user throughput while also providing at least some increase in overall network efficiency. In practical terms, the benefits of CoMP are less clear and there is at least some justified reservations regarding its potential impact on an operator’s network.
- CoMP 101. We explain the technical details of the various CoMP implementations, including CS/CB, DCS, JT, and uplink, as well the different implementation options, namely intra-cell versus inter- cell, and the use of distributed baseband pooling versus a distributed approach.
- The Benefits. In theory, CoMP can provide a meaningful edge of cell performance gain as well as a more modest benefit to overall spectral efficiency. We quantify the potential gains and how they vary based on the implementation of CoMP being used, as well as other important assumptions.
- The Challenges. To varying degrees, the potential benefits of CoMP may not translate from network simulations to real world network deployments. Multiple technical factors and logistical considerations need to be considered. We discuss
- The Alternatives. CoMP isn’t the only solution that is capable of increasing spectral efficiency and edge of cell performance. We discuss what is being done both within the standard (pre-Release 11) and on a vendor-specific basis.
- The Likely Rollout Strategies. Although recent 3GPP activity has seemingly delayed various aspects of CoMP, it is still a question of when and not if CoMP reaches commercial status. We explain how we see CoMP being deployed and we examine what some of the vendors are doing to drive higher network performance, either with or without CoMP.