Index Modulation Techniques for Next-Generation Wireless Networks

Submission Deadline: 30 September 2017

IEEE Access invites manuscript submissions in the area of Index Modulation Techniques for Next-Generation Wireless Networks.

After more than 20 years of research and development, the achievable data rates of today’s cellular wireless communications systems are several thousands of times faster than earlier second generation (2G) wireless systems. However, unprecedented levels of spectral and energy efficiency are expected from next generation wireless networks to achieve ubiquitous communications between anybody, anything, and at any time. In order to reach the challenging objectives of next generation wireless networks, researchers have envisioned novel physical layer (PHY) concepts such as massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) systems and non-orthogonal multi-carrier communications schemes. However, the wireless community is still working day and night to come up with new and more effective PHY solutions towards next generation wireless networks. There has been a growing interest on index modulation (IM) techniques over the past few years. IM, in which the indices of the building blocks of the considered communications systems are used to convey additional information bits, is a novel digital modulation scheme with high spectral and energy efficiency. Spatial modulation (SM) and orthogonal frequency division multiplexing with IM (OFDM-IM) schemes, where the corresponding index modulated building blocks respectively are the transmit antennas of a MIMO system and the subcarriers of an OFDM system, appear as two interesting as well as promising applications of the IM concept.

SM is a novel way of transmitting information by means of the indices of the transmit antennas of a MIMO system in addition to the conventional signal constellations. In contrast to conventional MIMO schemes, which rely either on spatial multiplexing to boost the data rate or spatial diversity to improve the error performance, the multiple transmit antennas of a MIMO system are used for a different purpose in an SM scheme. On the other hand, OFDM-IM is a novel multi-carrier transmission scheme, which has been proposed by inspiring from the IM concept of SM. Similar to SM, in the OFDM-IM scheme, the incoming bit stream is split into index selection and ordinary signal constellation bits. According to the index selection bits, only a subset of available subcarriers are selected as active, while the remaining inactive subcarriers are not used and set to zero. Furthermore, the active subcarriers are modulated according to the ordinary signal constellation bits. In other words, the information is conveyed not only by the data symbols as in classical OFDM, but also by the indices of the active subcarriers that are used for the transmission of the corresponding data symbols for the OFDM-IM scheme.

Although having strong and well-established competitors such as vertical Bell Labs layered space-time (V-BLAST) and space-time coding (STC) systems, SM schemes have been regarded as possible candidates for spectrum- and energy-efficient next generation MIMO systems. On the other hand, the researchers have started to explore the potential of IM concept for the subcarriers of OFDM systems in recent times and it has been shown that the OFDM-IM scheme can provide attractive advantages over classical OFDM, which is an integral part of many current wireless standards.

Motivated by these observations, this Special Section in IEEE Access aims to capture the state-of-the-art advances in IM concepts (SM, OFDM-IM, etc.), and outline the possible future research directions. The topics of interest include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Design of generalized/enhanced/quadrature IM systems
  • Novel single/multi-carrier IM systems
  • Recent advances in IM technologies
  • Application of IM systems for massive MIMO systems
  • Practical implementation of IM techniques
  • Performance analysis of IM systems
  • Information theoretical analysis of IM systems
  • Design of low complexity encoder/decoder structures for IM systems
  • Application of IM systems for multi-user and cooperative systems
  • IM techniques for optical wireless communications
  • Coded IM systems
  • Link adaptation methods and transmit antenna/subcarrier selection for IM
  • Differential IM systems
  • Application of IM techniques to other communications systems

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Associate Editor: Ertugrul Basar, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey

Guest Editors:

  1. Miaowen Wen, South China University of Technology, China
  2. Read Mesleh, German Jordan University in Amman, Jordan
  3. Marco Di Renzo, Paris-Saclay University, France
  4. Yue Xiao, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, China
  5. Harald Haas, University of Edinburg, UK.


Related IEEE Access Special Sections:

  1. Future Networks: Architectures, Protocols, and Applications
  2. Physical and Medium Access Control Layer Advances in 5G Wireless Networks
  3. Wireless Caching Technique for 5G


IEEE Access Editor-in-Chief: Michael Pecht, Professor and Director, CALCE, University of Maryland

Paper submission: Contact Associate Editor and submit manuscript to:

For inquiries regarding this Special Section, please contact: Bora M. Onat, Managing Editor, IEEE Access (Phone: (732) 562-6036,