Random Access Protocol with Channel Oracle Enabled by a Reconfigurable Intelligent Surface

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The widespread adoption of Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces (RISs) in future practical wireless systems is critically dependent on the integration of the RIS into higher-layer protocols beyond the physical (PHY) one, an issue that has received minimal attention in the research literature. In light of this, we consider a classical random access (RA) problem, where uncoordinated users' equipment (UEs) transmit sporadically to an access point (AP). Differently from previous works, we ponder how a RIS can be integrated into the design of new medium access control (MAC) layer protocols to solve such a problem. We consider that the AP is able to control a RIS to change how its reflective elements are configured, namely, the RIS configurations. Thus, the RIS can be opportunistically controlled to favor the transmission of some of the UEs without the need to explicitly perform channel estimation (CHEST). We embrace this observation and propose a RIS-assisted RA protocol comprised of two modules: Channel Oracle and Access. During channel oracle, the UEs learn how the RIS configurations affect their channel conditions. During the access, the UEs tailor their access policies using the channel oracle knowledge. Our proposed RIS-assisted protocol is able to increase the expected throughput by approximately 60% in comparison to the slotted ALOHA (S-ALOHA) protocol.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)9157-9171
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • Reconfigurable intelligent surface (RIS)
  • channel oracle
  • intelligent reflecting surface (IRS)
  • metasurface
  • random access


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