On the performance of non-orthogonal multiple access in the finite blocklength regime

In this paper, we present a finite-block-length comparison between the orthogonal multiple access (OMA) scheme and the non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) for the uplink channel. First, we consider the Gaussian channel, and derive the closed form expressions for the rate and outage probability. Then, we extend our results to the quasi-static Rayleigh fading channel. Our analysis is based on the recent results on the characterization of the maximum coding rate at finite block-length and finite block-error probability. The overall system throughput is evaluated as a function of the number of information bits, channel uses and power. We find what would be the respective values of these different parameters that would enable throughput maximization. Furthermore, we analyze the system performance in terms of reliability and throughput when applying the type-I ARQ protocol with limited number of retransmissions. The throughput and outage probability are evaluated for different blocklengths and number of information bits. Our analysis reveals that there is a trade-off between reliability and throughput in the ARQ. While increasing the number of retransmissions boosts reliability by minimizing the probability of reception error, it results in more delay which decreases the throughput. Nevertheless, the results show that NOMA always outperforms OMA in terms of throughput, reliability and latency regardless of the users priority or the number of retransmissions in both Gaussian and fading channels.