60 GHz Wireless Communication for Future Wi-Fi
60 GHz Wireless Communication for Future Wi-Fi
ICT Express. 2014. Jan, 1(1): 30-33
Copyright © 2014, The Korea Institute of Communications and Information Sciences
This is an Open Access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY-NC) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited.
  • Received : August 24, 2014
  • Accepted : September 21, 2014
  • Published : January 30, 2014
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About the Authors
Ohyun, Jo
DMC (Digital Media and Communications) R&D Center, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
SangHyun, Chang
DMC (Digital Media and Communications) R&D Center, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
ChangYeul, Kweon
DMC (Digital Media and Communications) R&D Center, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Jisung, Oh
DMC (Digital Media and Communications) R&D Center, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Kyungwhoon, Cheun
DMC (Digital Media and Communications) R&D Center, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

The 60 GHz Wi-Fi based on the IEEE 802.11ad standard has been attractive for recent years due to the high potential of the large bandwidth in 60 GHz unlicensed band allowing the multi-gigabit data transfer. However, the commercialization 60 GHz Wi-Fi is still not widely spread yet, mainly due to the high limitation of coverage as well as the lack of diverse applications. In the letter, we developed a novel technical beamforming system as a total radio solution across a wide range of holistic antenna and radio-frequency (RF) circuits design and cross-layer algorithm design to realize atmospheric beamforming coverage. To solve these challenges in the 60 GHz communications, our design and implementation are considered in all major layers, and the experimental results are presented to deduce insight and vision of future Wi-Fi.
1. Introduction
This letter issues practical challenges of 60 GHz Wi-Fi deployment and provides our novel technical solutions across a wide range of antenna, radio-frequency (RF) circuits, physical (PHY) layer algorithm, and medium access control (MAC) layer algorithm. The 60 GHz Wi-Fi technology, also known as the IEEE 802.11ad standard technology, exploits a mmWave (millimeter Wave) array antenna beamforming in the unlicensed 57-66 GHz frequency band. The Wi-Fi standard had been recently released with the mission of developing and promoting the adoption of a multi-gigabit speed wireless communications technology.
The 60 GHz Wi-Fi is incremental installment of the successful Wi-Fi (or Wireless Local Area Network) family, which has already had a tremendous number of deployments and users in the 2.4/5 GHz bands. According to a recent survey, the 60 GHz Wi-Fi chipset market is forecasted to be more than 1,500 million dollars until 2018 [1] .
Compared with the legacy Wi-Fi standards, the IEEE 802.11ad standard specification introduced a drastic makeover in the MAC and PHY layer specification [2] . The new network architectures and functions in MAC layer are as follows: superframe structure, beamforming, multi-band operation, and etc. The PHY layer in the IEEE 802.11ad standard supports 4 transmission modes: the Control PHY mode for beaconing and initial network entry, the SC (Single Carrier) PHY mode with the maximum data rate of 4.62 Gbps, the OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) PHY with the maximum data rate of 6.75 Gbps, and the Low-Power SC PHY (suitable for power-limited devices). The maximum data transmission rate of 6.75 Gbps can provide applications of near-real time uncompressed Full HD (High Definition) video streaming service and wireless ultra high-rate data service.
To realize the multi-gigabit wireless data transfer via the 60 GHz Wi-Fi, the transmitted 60 GHz radio signal suffers from much higher signal attenuation than the legacy Wi-Fi radio signal due to the air propagation loss with a small antenna effective area [3] , as well as the large amount of oxygen absorption. To overcome the severe link loss, a mmWave array beamforming technology has been essentially adopted to the 60 GHz Wi-Fi system.
The mmWave beamforming technology enables the directional high gain in an array antenna, where the array antenna pattern can be electronically controlled to a desired direction. The high gain of the array antenna may compensate the high signal attenuation. Moreover, the electric beam-location control can be utilized to search and find the best antenna pattern even upon the channel variation (e.g., human blockage). Therefore, the beamforming technology plays a key role of maintaining the multi-gigabit data transfer link to enable the aforementioned 60 GHz Wi-Fi applications.
2. 60 GHz Beamforming
- 2.1 Challenge of directional communication in practical indoor environments
This subsection demonstrates the practical defectiveness of the conventional 60 GHz communication by performing an experiment with a commercially available off-the-shelf 60 GHz transmitter module (SiBeam SK63102). In the experiment, 60 GHz tone signal is transmitted from the module, and the received power is measured by the spectrum analyzer that is located at 4m away from the transmitter. The commercial RF/Antenna module has 12 antenna array elements, and the antenna gain is 16 dBi. The steering coverage of the module is limited as ±50 degree according to the specification, and beam width is 22 degree. The attenuation of directional signal is measured for two NLOS scenarios: case 1) misalign of antenna orientation and case 2) human blockage, and compared with LOS case. In case 1, the antennas at both sides are faced the misaligned direction out of the steerable coverage so that any direct communication path cannot be found. In case 2, the antennas at both sides are facing each other, and human body that is one of the most frequent obstacles is blocking the wireless link.
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Test cases that shows the vulnerability of the conventional 60 GHz communication
Despite the short distance 4 m, the signal losses in the two NLOS cases are measured very high as much as -14.5 dB for case 1 and -25 dB for case 2, respectively. The results imply that the generic 60 GHz communication without meaningful improvements is hardly applicable for the common indoor scenario in the future Wi-Fi due to the huge signal loss and lack of beam steering coverage.
- 2.2 Principle of phased array antenna beamforming
To tackle the aforementioned limitations, beamforming technology using phased array antenna is essential. The physical principle of the phased array antenna can be described as in Fig 2 . Even though the number of elements is 2 in the example, the given principle can be generally applied for the large number of antenna elements. When the incident wave propagates form a phased array antenna, the time-of-arrival at each of array antenna elements may be different [4] . Note that the time-of-arrival difference depends on the spacing between antenna elements with respect to the impinging direction. To superimpose the signals in a constructive fashion (that is, to achieve high antenna gain effectively), a phase shifter of each array antenna element can compensate for the phase difference to combine the coherent signals. Due to the reciprocity, the operation of the receive array antenna is similar to that of the transmit array antenna. The array antenna pattern depends on the number of antenna elements, the spatial configurations of the antenna elements, and the gain pattern of the antenna elements. For example, we can manipulate the antenna pattern to be narrower and higher gain by using more number of antenna elements.
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Principle of constructive/destructive superposition for beam steering
3 Design and implementation for Samsung 60 GHz Wi-Fi
The incompleteness of the conventional beam coverage increases the shadowing area as shown in chapter 2. This phenomenon deteriorates further in NLOS (Non-Line Of Sight) cases and hinders the widespread of 60 GHz Wi-Fi. Thus, we have studied and developed the solutions to achieve a breakthrough to fully utilize the benefit of 60 GHz Wi-Fi, and to realize a lot of new applications.
We consider a 60 GHz wireless communication system with atmospheric steerable beamforming structures which can dismiss the aforementioned problems as shown in Fig. 3 . The antenna structure supports switchable usage of endfire array and broadside array to expand beam steering coverage situationally. RF contains the accompanying circuitries with low power consumption and negligible loss of gain. Digital blocks are responsible for smart beamforming algorithms and signal processing to enable high date rate.
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System overview of 60 GHz wireless communication
4. Efficient beam searching with dynamic beam shaping technique
In this section, we discuss beam search algorithms to find out the best TX/RX beam pair efficiently. Full search algorithm always guarantees the globally optimal solution, but is not practical due to the huge computational complexity. On the other hand, sequential search algorithms can give sub-optimal solutions with low complexity, and have the risk factor that local optimal solutions potentially cause performance degradation. Beam shaping technique can eliminate the hazards effectively and enhance coverage and throughput by controlling the beam width and gain pattern dynamically during the searching period. Consequently, the optimal beam pair can be found more likely. The search algorithms are extracted and summarized to deduce insights for effective management and usage of beamforming technology. The beam pair noted as variations of (t,r) can be decided from the proposed search algorithms based on the various CQIs(Channel Quality index) as followings. Here, is the index of the omni-like beam that is evenly designed for the optimized beam searching by the beam shaping technique.
  • =argk,lmax{CQI for all TX beamkand RX beaml}
  • t′ =argkmax{CQI for all TX beamkwith evenly designed RX beamRbsby dynamic beam shaping}
  • r′ =arglmax{CQI for all RX beamlwith the best TX beamt′}
  • t′′ =argkmax{CQI for all TX beamk}
  • r′′ =arglmax{CQI for all RX beaml}
To show the enhancements of the proposed beam searching schemes, TX/RX beams are sophisticatedly designed and the system level tests are performed intensively. Well-organized beambook is designed in Fig 4 . 19 beams are used to extend beamforming coverage for data transmission/reception, and each beam in the beambook has 22.4 degree HPBW (Half Power Beam Wdith) as shown in and Fig. 5 . Additionally, omni-like beam in Fig. 6 is included in the beambook for enhancing the performance of the beam searching scheme during beam training phase. The additional beam has the minimum variance of the array antenna gain.
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Sophisticated beambook design for thorough scan coverage
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Half power bandwidth of a beam candidate designed for data transmission and reception
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Omni-like beam design for optimized beam searching by using beam shaping technique
We carried out ‘5-point 8-way deployment test’ using our fully integrated 802.11ad implementation. The testbed is located at 5 positions with different directions, and rotated by 8 different orientations in each position in Fig 7 .
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Test scenario for 5-point 8-way deployment test
The result in Fig. 8 shows that the sequential search with dynamic beam shaping achieves the improved performance close to the optimal bound with respect to packet error rate and beam hit ratio. The measured packet error rate for the proposed beam searching algorithm with beam shaping is less than 50 % of the packet error rate without beam shaping. Here, we used Quadrature Phase Shift Keying (QPSK) for modulation, low density parity check (LDPC) 3/4 for channel coding, and 2000 bytes for packet length. Beam hit ratio is defined as the probability of finding the globally optimal beam pair. The proposed algorithm with beam shaping achieve 90 % beam hit ratio which is close to the globally optimal algorithm. Moreover, the proposed algorithm can reduce the computational complexity as much as 89 %. The reduced computational complexity guarantees the feasibility for practical implementation.
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Measured performance enhancement with efficient beam search algorithms
5. Conclusion
We presented the challenges of the 60 GHz communications as well as the practical solutions for the commercialization of the 60 GHz Wi-Fi. The enhancements and implementations performed by the authors will lead the maturity of the future Wi-Fi, and the evolution of Wi-Fi will continue creating new and innovative applications. In addition, recent interests on indoor/outdoor deployment may extend the use cases of the 60 GHz Wi-Fi technology.
The authors thank to the all colleagues who have contributed to the implementations and tests.
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