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  • The antenna for Lincoln Laboratory's in-band full-duplex phased-array system is seen with its protective packaging removed to expose the individual antennas that compose the phased array.

    The antenna for Lincoln Laboratory's in-band full-duplex phased-array system is seen with its protective packaging removed to expose the individual antennas that compose the phased array.

    Photo courtesy of the researchers

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  • Shown are all the electronics and signal processing hardware to implement the functions of the in-band full-duplex phased-array antenna system.

    Shown are all the electronics and signal processing hardware to implement the functions of the in-band full-duplex phased-array antenna system.

    Photo courtesy of the researchers

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Antenna system developed at Lincoln Laboratory aims to improve wireless communications

The antenna for Lincoln Laboratory's in-band full-duplex phased-array system is seen with its protective packaging removed to expose the individual antennas that compose the phased array.

In-band full-duplex techniques applied to a phased-array antenna may provide a tenfold speedup in data transmit and receive rates while supporting a rapidly increasing number of wireless devices.


Press Contact

Dorothy Ryan
Email: dryan@ll.mit.edu
Phone: 781-981-8616
MIT Lincoln Laboratory

The use of wireless devices is exploding. Statista, an international research service, estimated in March 2019 that roughly 13 billion mobile devices (e.g., phones, tablets, laptops) were in use worldwide, and Gartner, a global research and advisory firm, predicts that the internet of things will swell that number to more than 21 billion devices by the end of 2020.

The widespread use of mobile devices already creates significant demand on the cellular system that supports all this wireless connectivity, especially at locations, such as an outdoor concert or a sports arena, where large numbers of users may be simultaneously connecting. The ability of current-era cellular technology, or even the proposed next-generation 5G technology, will be severely strained to provide the high data rates and wide-area communication range needed to support the escalating device usage.  

The communications community has been looking at in-band full-duplex (IBFD) technology to increase the capacity and the number of supported devices by allowing the devices to transmit and receive on the same frequency at the same time. This ability not only doubles the devices' efficiency within the frequency spectrum, but also reduces the time for a message to be processed between send and receive modes.

In the article "In-Band Full-Duplex Technology: Techniques and Systems Survey," published recently in IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques 500 Internal Server Error- 澳门太阳城网站-最新注册

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However, the authors' cautioned that the potential of IBFD for wireless communications can only be realized if system designers develop techniques to mitigate the self-interference generated by simultaneously transmitting and receiving on the same frequency.

The IBFD systems developed so far are limited in the range they can achieve and the number of devices they can accommodate because they rely on antennas that radiate omnidirectionally. Recently, Lincoln Laboratory researchers have demonstrated IBFD technology that for the first time can operate on phased-array antennas. "Phased arrays can direct communication traffic to targeted areas, thereby expanding the distances that the RF signals reach and significantly increasing the number of devices that a single node can connect," Kolodziej said.

Handling the self-interference challenge

The research team, led by Kolodziej, Perry, and Jonathan Doane, addressed the self-interference problem through a combination of adaptive digital beamforming to reduce coupling between transmit and receive antenna beams and adaptive digital cancellation to further remove the residual self-interference. "The self-interference elimination is particularly challenging within a phased array because the close proximity of the antennas results in higher interference levels," Kolodziej says. "This interference becomes even more difficult as transmit powers exceed half of a watt because distortion and noise signals are generated and must also be removed for successful implementation," he adds.

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Even after the interference reduction provided by digital beamforming, a significant amount of noise, as well as residual transmitted signal, will remain in the received signal. Traditional digital cancellation techniques can cancel the residual transmitted signal but cannot eliminate noise. To solve this problem, the Lincoln Laboratory team coupled the output of each active transmit channel to the (otherwise unused) receive channel for that antenna. Then, by using a measured reference copy of the transmitted waveform, an adaptive cancellation algorithm can filter out the transmit signal, distortion, and noise, leaving the uncorrupted received signal.  

Suppressing residual transmit signals and extraneously incurred noise improves the reception of wireless signals from devices operating on the same frequency, effectively increasing the number of devices that can be supported and their data rates. "We envision this IBFD operation within a phased-array system as a novel paradigm that may lead to significant performance improvements for next-generation wireless systems," Doane says.

Predicted improvements in wireless service

Through in-laboratory assessments of how Lincoln Laboratory's proposed system compares to current cellular technology and state-of-the-art IBDF systems, the research team estimates that the phased-array antenna system with IBFD capability can support 100 times more devices and 10 times higher data rates than the currently used 4G LTE (fourth-generation long-term evolution) standard for wireless communications. Moreover, the phased-array system can achieve an extended communication range of 60 miles, which is more than 2.5 times greater than the next-best system.

Because phased-array antenna systems utilize multiple antennas to focus radiation and perform beamforming operations, Lincoln Laboratory's system is slightly larger than the single-antenna system planned for the 5G NR (fifth-generation new radio) — 1.5 square feet versus 1 square foot. However, either antenna size should be accommodated by most base stations.

"Overall, the significant improvements offered by Lincoln Laboratory's system could provide future wireless users with cutting-edge experiences that include connecting more devices inside their smart homes as well as maintaining high data rates in large crowds, both of which are impossible with current technology," Doane said.


Topics: Lincoln Laboratory, Communications, Wireless, Research

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