This article presents comprehensive comparisons of interleave division multiple access (IDMA) and direct sequence code division multiple access (DS-CDMA) in terms of performance and complexity assuming iterative multiuser detection. IDMA can be seen as a special case of DS-CDMA with spreading gain of one using very low rate code and user-specific interleavers for user separation. We focus on three suboptimum linear detectors: minimum mean square error (MMSE), rake (or matched filter), and soft-rake detectors from practical concerns. We analytically prove that the three detectors are equivalent for asynchronous users of IDMA on frequency flat channels for complex modulation alphabets. Such equivalence has been shown only for binary phase shift keying (BPSK) in the literature. The equivalence guarantees the MMSE solution for IDMA without computationally expensive matrix inversions or matrix-vector multiplications. This is generally not the case for DS-CDMA since DS-CDMA is sensitive to user asynchronism. We also discuss complexity aspects when the MMSE detector is used where we focus on essential differences in complexity between IDMA and DS-CDMA, instead of discussing particular complexity reduction techniques. Computer simulations are performed in various scenarios and the performance is analyzed by bit error rate simulations as well as by extrinsic information transfer (EXIT) charts. The analysis reveals the advantages of IDMA over DS-CDMA in terms of performance and complexity under practical considerations, particularly in highly user loaded scenarios.
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