Future millimeter-wave networks to combine best of high and low frequencies

April 25, 2019 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
IMDFEA millimeter-wave study
A ground-breaking research project has determined that next-generation high-speed networks based on millimeter-wave (30-300GHz) technology will be more robust and efficient in delivering extremely high speed, high quality video, and multimedia content and services.

The recently-concluded study on millimeter-wave communications was a collaboration between Huawei Technologies and IMDEA Networks Institute, the Madrid-based research body pioneering many technologies that are being deployed in the new 5G landscape.

Dr. Joerg Widmer, the Principal Investigator on the project and Research Director at IMDEA Networks explains:

"A signal's path loss increases significantly with its frequency. So, high frequency (HF) communications, like millimeter-wave systems which offer the speed and capacity that 5G and 802.11ad-standard Wi-Fi networks require, demand directional antennas in order to overcome the resulting attenuation. This results in high signaling overheads, since both ends of the communication have to continuously update their antenna steering as nodes move and blockages interrupt the line-of-sight path. These problems are avoided in low frequency (LF) networks, with their rich multi-path environment and much lower attenuation rates."

"We've explored how to use low frequency bands to infer the channel characteristics of high frequency millimeter-wave bands and to support the network in terms of beam tracking, angle of arrival estimation, and location information. By studying this approach and other LF-HF channel correlations that may enable LF to assist HF, we've been able to develop techniques that improve performance in the millimeter-wave band and reduce the control overhead required to operate the network. We demonstrated that the mechanisms and algorithms we developed work not only in theory but also in real-world wireless networking environments during the experimental evaluation phase of the project."

Angle of arrival (AoA) estimation at low frequency (2.45 GHz). The set-up includes an antenna array of 4 elements. We use the algorithm MUSIC in order to estimate the AoA of the signal received. Image: © IMDEA Networks Institute

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