Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a method for evaluating and selecting optimal antenna designs for future fifth-generation (5G) cellphones, other wireless devices and base stations.
The new NIST method could boost 5G wireless network capacity and reduce costs.
NIST researcher Jelena Senic drives a robot used to measure the performance of different antenna beam patterns. The mobile platform enables researchers to position a wireless channel sounder that includes (top to bottom) an array of 16 receive antennas, the receiver, timing circuitry, a signal digitizer and a battery for untethered field operations.
5G systems will avoid crowded conventional wireless channels by using higher, millimeter-wave frequency bands. Transmissions at these frequencies lose a lot of energy along the way, which weakens received signal strength.
One solution is "smart" antennas that can form unusually narrow beams--the area in space where signals are transmitted or received--and rapidly steer them in different directions.
Antenna beamwidth affects wireless system design and performance. NIST's new measurement-based method allows system designers and engineers to evaluate the most appropriate antenna beamwidths for real environments.
"Our new method could reduce costs by enabling greater success with initial network design, eliminating much of the trial and error that is now required," NIST engineer Kate Remley said.
"The method also would foster the use of new base stations that transmit to several users either simultaneously or in rapid succession without one antenna beam interfering with another. This, in turn, would increase network capacity and reduce costs with higher reliability."
This is the first detailed measurement-based study of how antenna beamwidth and orientation interact with the environment to affect millimeter-wave signal transmission. In the technique, NIST measurements covering a broad range of antenna beam angles are converted into an omnidirectional antenna pattern covering all angles equally.
The omnidirectional pattern can then be segmented into narrower and narrower beamwidths. Users can evaluate and model how antenna beam characteristics are expected to perform in specific types of wireless channels.
An engineer could use the method to select an antenna that best suits a specific application. For example, the engineer may choose a beamwidth that is narrow enough to avoid reflections off certain surfaces or that allows multiple antennas to coexist in a given environment without interference.
To develop the new method, the NIST team collected experimental data in a hallway and lobby of a NIST research building, using a special robot loaded with a customized channel sounder and other equipment.
A channel sounder collects data that capture the signal reflections, diffractions and scattering that occur between a transmitter and receiver. Many such measurements can be used to create a statistical representation of the radio channel, to support reliable system design and standardization.
NIST study results confirm that narrow beams can significantly reduce signal interference and delays, and that an optimized beam orientation reduces energy loss during transmissions. For example, the time interval during which signal reflections arrive (a metric called RMS delay spread) dropped dramatically from 15 nanoseconds (ns) to about 1.4 ns as antenna beamwidth was reduced from omnidirectional (360 degrees) to a narrow 3 degrees or so-called pencil beam.
Future research will include extending the method to different environments and analysis of other wireless channel characteristics.
Paper: R. Sun, C.A. Gentile, J. Senic, P. Vouras, P.B. Papazian, N.T. Golmie and K.A. Remley. 2018. Millimeter-Wave Propagation Channels vs. Synthetic Beamwidth. IEEE Communications Magazine. December 2018. Published online December 7, 2018. DOI: 10.1109/MCOM.2018.1800177
Laura Ost | EurekAlert!
Next generation photonic memory devices are light-written, ultrafast and energy efficient
15.01.2019 | Eindhoven University of Technology
Overtones can provide faster data communication
10.01.2019 | University of Gothenburg
Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.
It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:
The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.
One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...
Just in time for Christmas, a Mars-analogue mission in Morocco, coordinated by the Robotics Innovation Center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) as part of the SRC project FACILITATORS, has been successfully completed. SRC, the Strategic Research Cluster on Space Robotics Technologies, is a program of the European Union to support research and development in space technologies. From mid-November to mid-December 2018, a team of more than 30 scientists from 11 countries tested technologies for future exploration of Mars and Moon in the desert of the Maghreb state.
Close to the border with Algeria, the Erfoud region in Morocco – known to tourists for its impressive sand dunes – offered ideal conditions for the four-week...
Research opens doors in photonic quantum information processing, optical signal processing and microwave photonics
Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new integrated photonics platform that can...
A team of experimentalists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory and theoreticians at University of Alabama Birmingham discovered a remarkably long-lived new state of matter in an iron pnictide superconductor, which reveals a laser-induced formation of collective behaviors that compete with superconductivity.
"Superconductivity is a strange state of matter, in which the pairing of electrons makes them move faster," said Jigang Wang, Ames Laboratory physicist and...
14.01.2019 | Event News
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
15.01.2019 | Life Sciences
15.01.2019 | Information Technology
15.01.2019 | Materials Sciences