What is successive interference cancellation in LTE?

Successive Interference Cancellation (SIC) is a signal processing technique in LTE that improves multi-user communication by iteratively decoding and canceling out interfering signals. It enhances throughput, capacity, and communication quality by effectively mitigating interference, allowing multiple users to transmit simultaneously in the same frequency band, but it can be computationally intensive in complex scenarios.

What is successive interference cancellation in LTE?

Successive Interference Cancellation (SIC) is an advanced signal processing technique used in Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and other wireless communication systems to improve the performance of multi-user communication in the presence of interference. LTE is a widely used standard for 4G mobile communication, and SIC is one of the techniques employed to manage interference effectively.

Here’s a detailed explanation of SIC in LTE:

Interference in LTE:

In LTE networks, multiple users share the same frequency and time resources to transmit and receive data simultaneously. This can lead to interference when two or more users transmit signals on the same frequency at the same time. Interference can degrade the quality of communication and reduce data rates.

Basic Interference Mitigation:

LTE uses various techniques to mitigate interference, such as orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) and time-division multiple access (TDMA). These techniques allocate specific time-frequency resources to each user, reducing interference among users. However, in scenarios with high user density or overlapping coverage areas, interference can still occur.

Successive Interference Cancellation (SIC):

SIC is a more advanced method to combat interference. It allows a receiver to cancel out or mitigate the interference caused by multiple users transmitting simultaneously. Here’s how it works:

  • Detection of Signals: Initially, the receiver detects all the incoming signals, including the desired signal from the intended user and interfering signals from other users.
  • Decoding the Strongest Signal: The receiver first decodes the signal with the strongest power. This is usually the signal from the user who has the least interference or the strongest received power.
  • Cancellation of Decoded Signal: After successfully decoding the strongest signal, the receiver subtracts this decoded signal from the overall received signal. This process removes the contribution of the decoded signal, which also reduces the interference it caused to other users.
  • Iterative Process: The receiver then repeats the process, choosing the next strongest signal among the remaining undecoded signals. It decodes, subtracts, and continues this iterative process until all significant signals have been detected and canceled.

Benefits of SIC:

  • Improved Throughput: SIC can significantly improve the overall throughput of the LTE network by effectively mitigating interference and allowing multiple users to transmit simultaneously.
  • Increased Capacity: By canceling out interference, SIC increases the capacity of the network, enabling more users to connect and communicate simultaneously in the same frequency band.
  • Better Quality: SIC enhances the quality of communication by reducing the impact of interference, leading to fewer dropped calls and faster data rates.


Implementing SIC can be computationally intensive, especially in scenarios with a large number of users and strong interference. The receiver needs to perform multiple decoding and subtraction steps, which can increase the processing load.

Successive Interference Cancellation (SIC) is a sophisticated signal processing technique used in LTE to combat interference and improve the overall performance and capacity of the network. It allows the receiver to decode and cancel out interfering signals in an iterative manner, leading to higher throughput and better quality of service.

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