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This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the IEEE Globecom 2011 proceedings.

Antenna Array Design for Multi-Gbps mmWave Mobile Broadband Communication

Sridhar Rajagopal, Shadi Abu-Surra, Zhouyue Pi and Farooq Khan

Dallas Technology Lab, Samsung Electronics {srajagop, sasurra, zpi, fkhan}@sta.samsung.com

Abstract — Almost all cellular mobile communications including first generation analog systems, second generation digital systems, third generation WCDMA, and fourth generation OFDMA systems use Ultra High Frequency (UHF) band of radio spectrum with frequencies in the range of 300MHz-3GHz. This band of spectrum is becoming increasingly crowded due to spectacular growth in mobile data and other related services. More recently, there have been proposals to explore mmWave spectrum (3-300GHz) for commercial mobile applications due to its unique advantages such as spectrum availability and small component sizes. In this paper, we discuss system design aspects such as antenna array design, base station and mobile station requirements. We also provide system performance and SINR geometry results to demonstrate the feasibility of an outdoor mmWave mobile broadband communication system. We note that with adaptive antenna array beamforming, multi-Gbps data rates can be supported for mobile cellular deployments.

I.

INTRODUCTION

T he recent explosion in mobile data traffic with the new generation of smart phones, tablets and other mobile

media devices have severely strained the available cellular network capacity of current 3G/4G systems. Furthermore, market research data [1] suggests this situation will worsen with the incessant demand for higher data rate services such as mobile video traffic. These requirements have left operators and standard bodies scrambling to explore new spectrum and methods to increase spectral efficiency using techniques such as Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO), Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) and Co-Ordinated Multi- Point transmission (COMP) [2].

There is hardly any spectrum below 3 GHz available for providing new services. Moving to higher millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies for traditional outdoor mobile communication systems have been associated with challenges such as Line Of Sight (LOS) directional communication, poor RF efficiency and higher path loss. Hence, these frequencies have been typically deployed for wireless backhaul with fixed LOS transmitters and receivers. But, recently, there has been an increased interest in using mmWave frequencies for short range NLOS communication with multi-Gbps data rates, especially at 60 GHz [3]. These systems have been equipped with antenna arrays to support beamforming, which compensates for the path loss and enables NLOS communication for stationary users over short distances.

The purpose of this research paper is to demonstrate the feasibility of a Millimeter-wave Mobile Broadband (MMB) communication system with beamforming for mobile outdoor cellular deployments that can provide multi-Gbps data rates [4]. We discuss system design aspects such as requirements on

TABLE 1 TYPICAL LINK BUDGET FOR PROPOSED DESIGN

Link Budget Analysis

Downlink

Uplink

Transmit power (dBm)

40.00

40.00

23.00

23.00

Transmit antenna gain (dBi)

25.00

25.00

12.00

12.00

Carrier frequency (GHz)

28.00

28.00

28.00

28.00

Distance (km)

0.50

0.25

0.50

0.25

Free space propagation loss (dB)

115.32

109.30

115.32

109.30

Other losses (shadowing, fading)

20.00

20.00

20.00

20.00

Receive antenna gain (dB)

12.00

12.00

25.00

25.00

Received power (dBm)

-58.32

-52.30

-75.32

-69.30

Bandwidth (GHz)

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.50

Thermal noise PSD (dBm/Hz)

-174.00

-174.00

-174.00

-174.00

Noise figure

7.00

7.00

7.00

7.00

Thermal noise (dBm)

-80.01

-80.01

-80.01

-80.01

SNR (dB)

21.69

27.71

4.69

10.71

Implementation loss (dB)

3.00

3.00

3.00

3.00

Spectral efficiency

6.23

8.21

1.31

2.79

Data rate (Gbps)

3.11

4.11

0.65

1.39

the base station and the mobile station to operate within a given link budget and their impact on the design of the antenna arrays and perform system level simulations to verify the impact on signal to interference noise ratio (SINR) geometry and throughput.

A typical link budget for such a MMB communication system is shown in TABLE 1. A 28 GHz system is chosen as a design example that captures the impact of higher frequency operation while simultaneously meeting device implementation and feasibility constraints. Our goal is to provide a minimum of 1 Gbps for the mobile uplink and 4 Gbps for the downlink over 0.25 km distance within a 500 MHz bandwidth. Efficiency of RF components can be poor at mmWave frequencies and is an active area of research [5]. We assume 23 dBm as the transmit power for the uplink and 40 dBm for the downlink. We assume a 7 dB noise figure [6].

Channel models for mmWave communication have been studied for outdoor, fixed environments for Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS) applications and for indoor, mobile environments for 60 GHz applications [7][8]. However, deeper understanding of the mmWave channel may be needed for outdoor, mobile environments to understand path loss, angular spread, delay spread, NLOS beamforming and blocking issues and is a focus of our on-going research. We assume 20 dB as additional losses over the free space path loss to account for shadowing, fading and NLOS communication as an initial estimate.

The size of the antenna aperture decreases as the square of the wavelength ( λ ) [9]. Hence, a single antenna at mmWave frequencies at 30 GHz captures 100 times less energy compared to a similar antenna at 3 GHz. However, the reduction in energy capture due to the smaller antenna aperture size can be compensated for by providing multiple

978-1-4244-9268-8/11/$26.00 ©2011 IEEE

This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the IEEE Globecom 2011 proceedings.

antennas at these frequencies, thereby utilizing beamforming gains. One of the key challenges for meeting the proposed link budget requirements is to be able to provide sufficient beamforming gain to account for the increased propagation loss. For our design example shown in TABLE 1, this translates into providing 25 dBi antenna gain at the base station and 12 dB antenna gain at the mobile station at 28 GHz.

Apart from the increased 10×log 10 (N) dB gain, where N is the total number of antennas, beamforming also has additional advantages. In particular, the directional transmission within narrow beams can reduce interference and so increase the system throughput/capacity due to spatial reuse.

II. BEAMFORMING AT BASE STATION AND MOBILE STATION

Various architectures for beamforming are possible such as Radio Frequency (RF) beamforming, Intermediate Frequency (IF) beamforming, Local Oscillator (LO) beamforming and digital baseband beamforming [10] with tradeoffs regarding implementation complexity and flexibility. Digital beamforming has the most versatile phased array architecture and can support multiple independent data streams (MIMO), but at a high penalty in power consumption, size and weight. RF beamforming on the other hand requires only a single baseband transceiver, and provides system linearity and low power consumption. Other advantages of RF beamforming, which seems to be the dominant architecture being considered for mmWave communications are its simplicity, high pattern directivity and ability to significantly reject an interferer before the receiver [10][11].

Base stations and mobile stations have different beamforming requirements from an antenna structure and configuration perspective. Although we can perhaps consider limited support for digital beamforming at the base station, we assume RF beamforming with a phased antenna array in our design example. We focus our design in this paper to provide the required beamforming gain and steering capability. However, note that beamforming algorithms [11] for beam selection, refinement, tracking and training will be further required for the base station and mobile station to account for mobility during synchronization and data transmission, which is not covered in this paper.

A. Base station requirements

A base station is typically sectorized into multiple sectors.

We propose a 6-sector configuration for the base station, given the direction behavior of mmWave communication, over a traditional 3-sector cellular configuration. This allows us to provide additional system throughput due to spatial multiplexing and minimized interference. For the base station, the system requirements for the proposed design are as follows:

1. Provide high TX power (> 40 dBm)

2. Beam-steering in azimuth to > ±30° to cover sector with leakage less than -15 dBr to peak direction

3. Beam-steering in elevation to > ±10° to account for distances up to 1 km

4. Provide total antenna + beamforming gain of > 25 dB

Note that alternate configurations could be proposed for requirements resulting in different antenna structures for the base station. For example, in an urban environment, we may

base station. For example, in an urban environment, we may Figure 1 Base station and mobile

Figure 1 Base station and mobile antenna structures

need more steering and beamforming gain in the elevation domain to account for high-rise buildings etc. However, there will be an associated tradeoff of increased number of antennas or reduced coverage area. We consider an array of horn antennas at the base station for multiple reasons. First, horns have very high efficiency and provide relatively high antenna gain compared to other antenna types [12]. Also, horns are capable of transmitting very high power output (in Watts) that is required at the base station. The base station array antenna structure is shown in Fig. 1.

B. Mobile station requirements

At the mobile station, the requirements translated from the link budget are as follows:

1. Provide TX power (> 23 dBm)

2. Beam-steering in azimuth to > ± 90°

3. Beam-steering in elevation to > ± 90° since the path to base station may arrive from any angle

4. Provide total antenna + beamforming gain of > 12 dB

5. Feasibility of low power, area implementation

We consider patch antennas at the mobile station since patch antennas are easy to integrate on the mobile station and can provide 6 dBi antenna element gain [12]. However, patch antennas can typically cover < 180°. To provide full coverage and steering capabilities over 360°, we consider using two sets of patch antennas in the mobile station with limited coverage around the endfire.

This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the IEEE Globecom 2011 proceedings.

III. ANTENNA ARRAY DESIGN

A. Base station antenna array design

Figure 2 Horn antenna for the base station
Figure 2 Horn antenna for the base station

The requirement of 25 dBi gain from the base station horn antenna was decomposed into getting 10 dB from the inherent gain of each horn antenna element and 15 dB from the beamforming array factor. Targeting a low gain horn antenna with 10 dBi gain allowed us to provide higher steering capability due to use of a wider beam pattern in the H-plane with minimal energy leakage as side lobes.

Fig. 2 shows a horn antenna where A and B are the horn sides along the H-plane (X-axis) and E-plane (Y-axis) respectively. We chose the H-plane half-power beam-width (HPBW) of θ a = 150°,and the E-plane HPBW of θ b = 20° to provide beam-steering in azimuth (Y-axis) to > ±30° to cover the entire 60° sector with sidelobe leakage less than -15 dBr. This translates into the horn antenna parameters of A = 0.53λ and B = 2.71 λ .

Fig. 3 shows the gain response of the horn antenna in the azimuth (X-axis) and elevation (Y-axis) domain. Choosing a wide H-plane HPBW θ a = 150° is more than sufficient to cover ±30°, but it allows us to design the A parameter of the horn less than λ , This is important to minimize sidelobes due to grating that could cause interference and decrease gain in the desired direction. The antenna gain for the chosen horn parameters computes to 9.47 dB.

In order to get >15 dB RF beamforming gain from multiple horn antennas, we need a minimum of ceil(10 (15/10) ) = 32 elements in the array. However, since we may not achieve the entire theoretical gain, especially during steering, we consider using 48 antenna elements at the base station.

we consider using 48 antenna elements at the base station. Figure 3 Gain response of each

Figure 3 Gain response of each individual horn element

Figure 3 Gain response of each individual horn element Figure 4 12×4 horn antenna array gain

Figure 4 12×4 horn antenna array gain response

horn element Figure 4 12×4 horn antenna array gain response Figure 5 Steering capability of 12×4

Figure 5 Steering capability of 12×4 horn antennas

Furthermore, we choose to use array dimensions as 12×4 in order to provide majority of steering of up to ±30° in azimuth (X-axis) and provide limited steering in the elevation (Y-axis) up to ±10°. As shown in Fig. 4, a 12×4 horn antenna array can provide an array factor gain of 16.81 dBi at boresight (Z-axis), providing a net antenna + beamforming gain of 26.28 dBi at

the base station at boresight.

Fig. 5 shows the steering capability of the designed array

in the H-plane (X-axis) where the beam is steered by 30° in

the azimuth plane away from the boresight. The array gain in

this case was 15.91 dBi and thus, the loss in gain due to steering was less than 1 dB. We were able to steer the array up to ±45° in the azimuth and ±10° in the elevation without any noticeable side lobes greater than -15 dB. This was possible

due to the large choice of θ a = 150°.The additional margin of ±15° for the sector beamwidth will allow better coverage for

the mobile station at the edges between adjacent sectors and

facilitate tracking of the mobile station into the adjacent sector of the same base station when possible and also, assist with soft handoffs.

Fig. 6 shows the final architecture of the designed base

station antenna array that provides 26.28 dBi gain at boresight and allows steering in the azimuth by ±45° and in the elevation by ±10° with < 1 dB loss at the end ranges. At 28 GHz, the size of the 12×4 horn array roughly equates to 11.66

cm × 6.81 cm in area.

This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the IEEE Globecom 2011 proceedings.

for publication in the IEEE Globecom 2011 proceedings. Figure 6 Base station horn antenna configuration per
for publication in the IEEE Globecom 2011 proceedings. Figure 6 Base station horn antenna configuration per

Figure 6 Base station horn antenna configuration per sector

B. Mobile station antenna array design

Since the mobile station has area and power constraints, we cannot expect as large beamforming gains in the mobile station that we were able to provide for the base station. Further the size and shape of horn antennas are not feasible for easy integration on mobile phones. Hence, we considered only 12 dBi as total gain to be attained on the mobile station. We consider providing 6 dBi gain from using 4 antenna array elements and develop a patch antenna that is suitable for integration on mobile stations and can typically provide a 6 dBi antenna gain [12]. The patch antenna structure is shown in Fig. 7. The length of the patch antenna is defined on the X- axis and the width is placed along the Y-axis and the boresight is defined on the Z-axis.

Fig. 8 shows the gain response of a patch antenna with L=W=0.34 λ ( λ /2 spacing accounting for a permittivity Є r = 2.2 for the substrate), assuming 6 dBi antenna gain at boresight.

Figure 7 Patch antenna for the mobile station
Figure 7 Patch antenna for the mobile station

In order to provide 6 dBi RF beamforming gain from 4 antenna elements, we consider arranging the 4 elements in a 2×2 antenna array. This allows us to steer the beam in the

azimuth and elevation domain equally at the mobile station since the mobile may be held at any angle. The two sectors at 180° at the mobile station cover the entire Z-axis. The antennas are also placed at λ /2 spacing, minimizing grating lobes that may cause signal leakage and loss in maximum gain. We can see that a 12 dBi net antenna gain can be obtained at the mobile station with beamforming, as shown in Fig. 9.

Fig. 10 and Fig. 11 show the impact of steering on the mobile station by 30° and 90° respectively. As we steer from boresight (Z-axis) to endfire (XY plane), the sidelobe leakage grows due to the patch antenna poor gain response in the endfire direction. The peak of the gain response is also not in the direction of the intended transmission. Both these issues can lead to increased interference in the system. While we are expecting the patch to cover 180°, in practice, the steering capability of the mobile station in our design is limited by the patch to 120° or so [11] and the performance of the patch is poor towards the endfire (XY plane) for coverage. This could potentially be mitigated by implementing spatial array filtering [9] but could increase the complexity of beamforming design at the mobile station by requiring amplitude control in addition to phase control [11]. We simulate the effect of the increased

interference and power loss during steering at endfire in our system level simulations and note the design of antenna arrays for increased omni-coverage at the mobile station as an area of continuing future investigation [11].

station as an area of continuing future investigation [11]. Figure 8 Gain response of each patch

Figure 8 Gain response of each patch antenna

future investigation [11]. Figure 8 Gain response of each patch antenna Figure 9 2×2 patch antenna

Figure 9 2×2 patch antenna gain response

This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the IEEE Globecom 2011 proceedings.

for publication in the IEEE Globecom 2011 proceedings. Figure 10 Beamforming gain and steering at the

Figure 10 Beamforming gain and steering at the mobile station

10 Beamforming gain and steering at the mobile station Figure 11 End-fire leakage for mobile station

Figure 11 End-fire leakage for mobile station

The final architecture for the 2×2 antenna array for the mobile station is shown in Fig. 12. The antenna array is reasonably compact, requiring roughly 0.99 cm × 0.99 cm in area at 28 GHz. The architecture provides 12 dBi gain for the mobile station with limited steering around the endfire (XY plane).

IV. SYSTEM LEVEL SIMULATIONS

The performance of a millimeter-wave mobile broadband system with the proposed antenna arrays is studied via system level simulation. The system configuration largely follows the system simulation methodology in [13] with a few changes to model the specific feature of the antenna arrays designed in Section III. The list of important system parameters are shown in TABLE 2. A realistic path loss formula based on the measurement data in [7] is assumed for the simulations.

y

N x = 2 N y = 2 L d x = 0.5 d y
N
x = 2
N
y = 2
L
d
x = 0.5
d
y = 0.5
L
= 0.34
W
W = 0.34
Є r = 2.2
x
d y
N y
d x
z
N x

Figure 12 Mobile station antenna configuration per sector

TABLE 2. MMB SYSTEM SIMULATION CONFIGURATION

Cell layout

19-cell wrap around

Number of sectors per cell

6

Site-to-site distance

 

500

meters

Carrier frequency

 

28

GHz

System bandwidth

 

500

MHz

Path loss formula

157.4 + 32log 10 d (d in km)

BS Tx power per sector

40, 43, 46, 49 dBm

BS antenna configuration

48-element horn antenna array per sector

Lognormal shadowing STD

 

12

dB

Mobile station noise figure

7

dB

MS antenna configuration

2

arrays, each with 4 elements

System overhead

 

30%

Implementation loss

3

dB

In the system simulated, each base station is deployed with 6 horn antenna arrays as shown in Fig. 6 with each antenna array covering a 60° sector. The resolution of base station transmit beamforming is 1°, i.e., there are 60 beams in the base station transmit beamforming codebook for each sector.

Each mobile station is equipped with two 4-element patch antenna arrays as shown in Fig. 12. Note that 2 arrays can provide sufficient steering capability for the 360° in both azimuth (X-axis) and elevation (Y-axis), although in this study we only study the beamforming effect in the azimuth plane. We model the impact of the beamforming gain loss due to limited steering capability in the endfire (XY) plane for the mobile station as shown in Fig. 11. Mobile stations are randomly dropped in the system with random orientation. The resolution of mobile station receiver beamforming is also 1°, i.e., there are 360 beams in the mobile station receiver beamforming codebook.

Current phased antenna array design implementations can attain a resolution of 5° [6]. Although it could be argued that a resolution of 1° for transmit and/or receive beamforming used in the simulations may be difficult to realize in practice, the beams are not pencil beams at the transmitter and receiver and the HPBW accounted for the azimuth and elevation angles allows relaxation of the resolution requirements without significant performance loss.

1 0.9 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 -18 -15 -12 -9
1
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1
0
-18
-15
-12
-9
-6
-3
0
3
6
9
12
15
18
21
24
Geometry (dB)
Cellular
MMB, NoBF
MMB, RxBF
MMB, TxBF
MMB, TRBF
CDF

Figure 13 SINR geometry distribution with Tx and Rx beamforming

This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the IEEE Globecom 2011 proceedings.

The CDF of the mobile station SINR geometry distribution in the MMB system is shown in Fig. 13. Base station Tx power of 40 dBm per sector is assumed for both the MMB systems and the cellular reference system. A 4G LTE-A cellular reference system is assumed for comparison with 4 Tx MIMO per sector, 3-sector cell and 20 MHz system bandwidth as in [13]. Without beamforming (“NoBF”), the geometry of MMB performs worse than a comparable 4G design (“cellular”). However, with beamforming, even just at the mobile station only (“RxBF”) or base station only (“TxBF”), provides better performance than a comparable cellular design. Joint transmit and receive beamforming (“TRBF”) significantly improves the geometry of the mobile stations by both enhancing the signal strength by at least 6 dB at the 5 percentile level for the desired mobile station and suppressing the interferences to other mobile stations.

The system throughput and cell-edge performance of the designed MMB system are shown in Fig. 14. A single stream transmission and simple round-robin scheduling are assumed for the simulations. With 40 dBm BS Tx power, a cell throughput of 8.37 Gbps (including all 6 sectors in a cell) and a cell-edge throughput of 680 Mbps can be achieved. As we increase the BS Tx power higher to 49 dBm, a cell throughput of 9.07 Gbps and a cell-edge throughput of 882 Mbps are achieved. These performance numbers from Fig. 14 demonstrate that it is possible to achieve 10–100 times improvement with mmWave communication over current 4G systems. This gain is to be expected given increased availability of bandwidth at mmWave frequencies (25 times increase in bandwidth from 20 MHz to 500 MHz in our example). With more sophisticated technologies including spatial multiplexing, SDMA, MIMO, and channel sensitive scheduling, further performance improvements of the MMB system with Tx and Rx beamforming can be expected.

V. CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE WORK

This

paper

seeks

to

demonstrate

the

feasibility

of

communication

supporting multi-Gbps data rates via system design supporting

beamforming with adaptive high gain antenna arrays, system performance and SINR geometry analysis.

mmWave

mobile

broadband

(MMB)

Cell throughput Cell-edge throughput 9100 950 9000 900 8900 850 8800 800 8700 750 8600
Cell throughput
Cell-edge throughput
9100
950
9000
900
8900
850
8800
800
8700
750
8600
700
8500
650
8400
600
8300
550
40
43
46
49
Base station transmit power per sector (dBm)
Cell throughput (Mbps)
Cell-edge throughput (Mbps)

Figure 14 MMB system and cell-edge performance

There are however, several challenges in turning this research effort into a commercial effort. including system and network architecture designs to account for directionality, beamforming algorithms to account for mobility, global spectrum allocation, increasing efficiencies of mmWave RF components such as antenna arrays, CMOS implementations, designing high gain power amplifiers, deeper understanding of outdoor, mobile, mmWave channel models and providing low power, area, cost implementations for the mobile station. We plan to extend this work by developing a prototype system for verification and get a better understanding of the outdoor, mmWave channel. We believe with continuing research and focused efforts, mmWave mobile broadband will become an important growth area for wireless cellular communication in the near future, providing multi-Gbps data rates within new GHz of spectrum bandwidth and therefore meeting the challenges raised by the on-going mobile data explosion.

VI.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

The authors thank their colleagues at Samsung Electronics for their valuable feedback and discussions.

VII.

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