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Blog on Selected Ideas in Communications
Written By:

Petar Popovski, Editor in Chief of IEEE JSAC

Published: 15 Sep 2022

The inaugural issue of IEEE JSAC was published in January 1983 and the theme of the issue was “Digital Satellite Communications”. Interestingly, satellite communication is again a topic of very high interest within the communication engineering community, sparkled by the emergence of small satellites, large LEO constellations, and the Non-Terrestrial Networks (NTN) within 3GPP. In the meantime, during the past four decades, IEEE JSAC was always at the cutting edge of the communication technology, featuring special issues that pushed the boundary of this engineering discipline. This blog features the list of ten most-cited IEEE JSAC articles, according to the Web of Science (WoS) database.

1. S. M. Alamouti, "A Simple Transmit Diversity Technique for Wireless Communications," in IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 16, no. 8, pp. 1451-1458, Oct. 1998.

Number of WoS citations: 8443

Figure 1

We start with the most cited article, one of the pioneering works that has kicked off the MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) era in wireless communications. It presents a very neat idea of creating a diversity by transmitting through multiple antennas. Rather than trying to reap the diversity within a single use of the multi-antenna transmitter, the method follows the best tradition of communication theory and applies a code that uses the channel multiple times. This lead to the development of a more general class of space-time codes. The impact of MIMO in practical systems has been rapid and outstanding; all contemporary mobile cellular systems and WiFi use this technology.

2. S. Haykin, "Cognitive Radio: Brain-Empowered Wireless Communications," in IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 201-220, Feb. 2005.

Number of WoS citations: 7600

During the 2000s, cognitive radio was one of the hottest topics in wireless communications. The main premise was that the spectrum is scarce because it is not allocated efficiently and there are systems that are not using it most of the time (primary users), such that secondary users can dynamically access the spectrum. This paper is one of the key references in cognitive radio, providing a broad view on the area and describing the challenges in terms of communication and signal processing. Cognitive radio has lost a bit of its popularity during the recent years, but it is not unlikely that it will be revived, as spectrum is still scarce, while the cognitive systems can leverage a lot the recent enormous progress in machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

3. G. Bianchi, "Performance Analysis of the IEEE 802.11 Distributed Coordination Function," in IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 535-547, March 2000.

Number of WoS citations: 5224

This outstanding work on analysis of Medium Access Control (MAC) protocols appeared at the time when Wi-Fi, formally known as the IEEE 802.11 standard, started to gain traction and widespread use. This work has crafted a clever analytical model to analyze the throughput of Wi-Fi, removing the protocol complexity and keeping the minimal level of details, while providing very accurate results and important insights.

4. J. G. Andrews, S. Buzzi, W. Choi, S. Hanly, A. Lozano, A. C. Soong, and J. C. Zhang, "What Will 5G Be?," in IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 32, no. 6, pp. 1065-1082, June 2014.

Number of WoS citations: 5170

This is one of the early papers on 5G that has provided a panoramic view on the wireless research landscape. Of course, the 5G standard and deployment deviated from the postulates presented in this, as well as other early 5G papers, which is an expected situation in research; the important role of this work is that identified a number of research and engineering challenges and inspired a number of follow-up works.

5. A. Bletsas, A. Khisti, D. P. Reed and A. Lippman, "A Simple Cooperative Diversity Method Based on Network Path Selection," in IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 659-672, March 2006.

Number of WoS citations: 2115

Besides cognitive radio, cooperative communication and relaying was another area in wireless communication that had a significant momentum during the 2000s. This paper follow up on the groundbreaking work by Laneman et al. on cooperative diversity and devises an efficient method to select the best relay among the M>1 available relays. Relaying did not get so widespread use in 4G and 5G networks, but a close cousin of relaying, Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface (RIS) is currently one of the trendiest topics in wireless communications. The good thing about communication-theoretic models is that they are more reminiscent of mathematics rather than a fashionable technology trend; hence, the insights of this paper can be useful also for RIS and other relay-related concepts.

6. A. A. M. Saleh and R. Valenzuela, "A Statistical Model for Indoor Multipath Propagation," in IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 128-137, February 1987.

Number of WoS citations: 1887

This paper has introduced the celebrated Saleh-Valenzula model. Published back in 1987, before 2G and Wi-Fi, this is a classic work and the model remains relevant for many wireless communication systems. The paper presents measurements, while the model, which is well-fitted to the measurement data, is based on cluster of signal rays.

7. C. Y. Wong, R. S. Cheng, K. B. Letaief and R. D. Murch, "Multiuser OFDM with Adaptive Subcarrier, Bit, and Power Allocation," in IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 17, no. 10, pp. 1747-1758, Oct. 1999.

Number of WoS citations: 1810

Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) and its variants represent a de-facto standard for today’s broadband wireless communication systems, such as mobile cellular or Wi-Fi. This paper came out in the early days of OFDM and showed how adaptive modulation and power allocation can take advantage of the frequency selective channels, as the narrowband subcarriers offer sufficiently high resolution to follow the channel fluctuations in frequency. This line of thinking has dominated the OFDM designs throughout the past two decades.

8. B. M. Waxman, "Routing of Multipoint Connections," in IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 6, no. 9, pp. 1617-1622, Dec. 1988.

Number of WoS citations: 1627

This is a paper that came before the Internet revolution in the 90s. Following the papers on propagation and physical layer, presented above, this routing paper confirms the wide span and relevance of the topics published in IEEE JSAC, as it deals with networking problems. The paper is widely cited by various works on Internet topology analysis and general network modeling.

9. J. Hoydis, S. ten Brink and M. Debbah, "Massive MIMO in the UL/DL of Cellular Networks: How Many Antennas Do We Need?," in IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 160-171, February 2013.

Number of WoS citations: 1595

Following the seminal work of T. Marzetta that introduced the concept of Massive MIMO, there was a surge of research papers and experimental works on large antenna arrays. This works treats the important practical case in which the number N of antennas per base station is comparable to the number K of users communicating with that base station. Specifically, the authors analyze how many antennas are needed per user in order to attain a certain fraction of the performance that can be obtained when the number of antennas is asymptotically large. This, as well other works on Massive MIMO, remain relevant also now, when the research moves towards 6G, through various forms of large arrays, intelligent surfaces, and cell-free systems.

10. R. D. Yates, "A Framework for Uplink Power Control in Cellular Radio Systems," in IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, vol. 13, no. 7, pp. 1341-1347, Sept. 1995.

Number of WoS citations: 1591

This paper came out when CDMA (Coded Division Multiple Access) was used in the cellular systems in USA, as well as geared for the upcoming 3G mobile cellular networks. The model in the paper is inspired by CDMA systems, but, being a solid theoretical work, the significance of this work is much broader and concerns interference-constrained systems. The author presents synchronous and asynchronous power control algorithms that converge and minimize the total power.

Two final remarks about this list of papers. First, note that half of the ten papers are written by a single author. Second, there is no author that appears more than once in this top-ten list.

There is always a chance to become a part of this list in a couple of years by submitting your work at some of the upcoming special issues in IEEE JSAC.

Statements and opinions given in a work published by the IEEE or the IEEE Communications Society are the expressions of the author(s). Responsibility for the content of published articles rests upon the authors(s), not IEEE nor the IEEE Communications Society.

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