Hybrid Relay-Reflecting Intelligent Surface-Assisted Wireless Communications

Reconfigurable intelligent surface (RIS) has emerged as a cost- and energy-efficient solution to enhance the wireless communications capacity. However recent studies show that a very large surface is required for a RIS-assisted communications system; otherwise they may be outperformed by the conventional relay. Furthermore the performance gain of a RIS can be considerably degraded by hardware impairments such as limited-resolution phase shifters. To overcome those challenges we propose a hybrid relay-reflecting intelligent surface (HR-RIS) architecture in which a single or few elements serve as active relays while the remaining only reflect the incident signals. We propose two HR-RIS architectures namely the fixed and dynamic HR-RIS. The joint transmit beamforming at the base station and hybrid relay-reflecting at the HR-RIS are designed based on alternating optimization and power allocation strategies. The simulation results for a 4×4 multiple-input multiple-output system show that the proposed HR-RIS with only a single active element can achieve about 95% and 75% improvement in spectral efficiency and energy efficiency respectively with respect to the conventional RIS-aided system. The results also show that the HR-RIS can outperform the conventional relaying scheme in most of the considered scenarios.