High Efficiency and Flexible Phased-arrays for Scalable Millimetre-Wave Wireless Communications

Project HEFPA
Project Key Information

Project Status: set-up

Start Date: April 2020

End Date: March 2023

Budget (total): 6911 K€

Effort:  52.7 PY

Project-ID: C2019/2-6

Project Coordinator

Name: Steve Kovacic

Company: Skyworks Solutions Canada Inc.

Country: Canada

E-mail: steve.kovacic(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)skyworksinc.com

Project Consortium

Skyworks Solutions Canada Inc., Canada

IMST GmbH, Germany

Infineon Technologies AG, Germany

Schweizer Electronic AG, Germany

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

C-COM Satellite Systems Inc. , Canada

University of Carleton, Canada

University of Waterlo, Canada

Abstract

Millimetre wave (mmW) wireless communications shall rely upon phased-array antenna systems to overcome propagation loss. Antenna configurations and array size shall be determined by the target applications and may vary from large arrays such as 32 x 32 antenna elements to small arrays such as 2 x 8 elements that are more suited for mobile handsets and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices. The phase relationship of the RF signal between adjacent antenna elements enables steerable directivity of the radio signal as compared to an omnidirectional antenna or parabolic antenna often use in fixed-link microwave and mmW communications. Electronic control of the signal phase and amplitude at each antenna in the array enables beam steering and network control of the signal power along with tracking of a mobile radio user. This project is concerned with the development of a scalable, unit array, front-end component that comprises a 2 x 2 antenna module (HEFPA module) that can be used as a flexible building-block in the implementation of larger and more diverse mmW antenna arrays. Embedded within each HEFPA module will be highly-efficient mmW signal generation and conditioning, power amplifiers, phase-shifters, switching functions and low-noise amplifiers. To enable effective cooperation between the HEFPA modules, new techniques to provide control, RF signal distribution phase/time coherence, and calibration amongst the unit elements will be developed. In addition, a flexible digital overlay will be developed to dynamically permit a grouping of HEFPA modules to reconfigure the active array or sub-array in cooperation with the other HEFPA modules. This is a unique capability that will be extremely useful in permitting multiple use-cases for mmW wireless communications. Consequently, consideration of the MIMO order, link separation, and number of target users shall be incorporated within the project into a flexible schema of analog and digital communications between the respective HEFPA modules.

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