MIMO Evolution Beyond 5G Through Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces and Fluid Antenna Systems

With massive deployment multiple-input–multiple-output (MIMO) systems continue to take mobile communications to new heights but the ever-increasing demands mean that there is a need to look beyond MIMO and pursue the next disruptive wireless technologies. Reconfigurable intelligent surface (RIS) is widely considered a key candidate technology block to provide the next generational leap. The first part of this article provides an updated overview of the conventional reflection-based RIS technology which complements the existing literature to include active and semiactive RIS and the synergies with cell-free massive MIMO (CF mMIMO). Then we widen the scope to discuss the surface-wave-assisted RIS that represents a different design dimension in utilizing metasurface technologies. This goes beyond being a passive reflector and can use the surface as an intelligent propagation medium for superb radio propagation efficiency. The third part of this article turns the attention to the fluid antenna a novel antenna technology that enables a diverse form of reconfigurability that can combine with RIS for ultrahigh capacity power efficiency and scalability. This article concludes with a discussion of the potential synergies that can be exploited between MIMO RIS and fluid antennas.