Optimization of Grant-Free NOMA With Multiple Configured-Grants for mURLLC

Yan Liu, Yansha Deng, Maged Elkashlan, Arumugam Nallanathan, George K. Karagiannidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Massive Ultra-Reliable and Low-Latency Communications (mURLLC), which integrates URLLC with massive access, is emerging as a new and important service class in the next generation (6G) for time-sensitive traffics and has recently received tremendous research attention. However, realizing efficient, delay-bounded, and reliable communications for a massive number of user equipments (UEs) in mURLLC, is extremely challenging as it needs to simultaneously take into account the latency, reliability, and massive access requirements. To support these requirements, the third generation partnership project (3GPP) has introduced enhanced grant-free (GF) transmission in the uplink (UL), with multiple active configured-grants (CGs) for URLLC UEs. With multiple CGs (MCG) for UL, UE can choose any of these grants as soon as the data arrives. In addition, non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA) has been proposed to synergize with GF transmission to mitigate the serious transmission delay and network congestion problems. In this paper, we develop a novel learning framework for MCG-GF-NOMA systems with bursty traffic. We first design the MCG-GF-NOMA model by characterizing each CG using the parameters: the number of contention-transmission units (CTUs), the starting slot of each CG within a subframe, and the number of repetitions of each CG. Based on the model, the latency and reliability performances are characterized. We then formulate the MCG-GF-NOMA resources configuration problem taking into account three constraints. Finally, we propose a Cooperative Multi-Agent based Double Deep Q-Network (CMA-DDQN) algorithm to balance the allocations of the channel resources among MCGs so as to maximize the number of successful transmissions under the latency constraint. Our results show that the MCG-GF-NOMA framework can simultaneously improve the low latency and high reliability performances in massive URLLC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1222-1236
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • NOMA
  • Ultra reliable low latency communication
  • Reliability
  • Uplink
  • Resource management
  • Reliability engineering
  • Optimization
  • Multiple configured-grants
  • massive URLLC
  • deep reinforcement learning
  • resource configuration


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