Researchers Create a New System and Algorithm to Improve 5G Network Efficiency

One method instructs the base station to split the beam into multiple pathways at first. A handful of these routes have a straight line of sight between the base station and the receiver. Some pathways take an indirect route, with the beams bouncing off surfaces known as reflectors. Glass, metal, drywall, and concrete are examples of materials that reflect millimeter waves and allow them to reach the receiver.

The algorithm determines the optimum path in a given environment. It then corrects each beam’s angle, power, and phase such that when they reach the receiver, they are constructively combined to create a strong, high-throughput, and high-quality signal. This approach multiplies the number of beams, resulting in a more powerful signal.

When the user moves around or another interrupts the path. The beams are likely to become misaligned as a result of these occurrences. This problem was handled by the algorithm constantly tracking the user’s movement and modifying all beam settings. The other algorithm helps preserve the connection.

The method was designed in the lab and implemented by the scientists using advanced hardware.

Experimental setup of the multi-beam millimeter-wave system.
Credit: University of California – San Diego

A multi-beam system gives you a higher throughput while transmitting the same amount of power overall as a single beam system. You would think that splitting the beam would reduce the throughput or quality of the signal, but with the way that we’ve designed our algorithms, it turns out mathematically that this is not true.

Dinesh Bharadia, Jacobs School of Engineering, University of California San Diego

A small base station and receiver are included in the hardware. The base station is equipped with a phased array created in Gabriel Rebeiz’s lab. At the University of California, San Diego, Rebeiz is a professor of electrical and computer engineering. He is also a member of the University’s Center for Wireless Communication and an expert in the phased array for 5G and 6G communications.

The researchers are currently aiming to scale up the system so that it can support many users. The National Science Foundation provided financial assistance for this work.

More: Two beams are better than one: towards reliable and high throughput mmWave links

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