With the severe spectrum shortage in conventional cellular bands, large-scale antenna systems in the mmWave bands can potentially help to meet the anticipated demands of mobile traffic in the 5G era. There are many challenging issues, however, regarding the implementation of digital beamforming in large-scale antenna systems: complexity, energy consumption, and cost. In a practical large-scale antenna deployment, hybrid analog and digital beamforming structures can be important alternative choices. In this article, optimal designs of hybrid beamforming structures are investigated, with the focus on an N (the number of transceivers) by M (the number of active antennas per transceiver) hybrid beamforming structure. Optimal analog and digital beamforming designs in a multi-user beamforming scenario are discussed. Also, the energy efficiency and spectrum efficiency of the N × M beamforming structure are analyzed, including their relationship at the green point (i.e., the point with the highest energy efficiency) on the energy efficiency-spectrum efficiency curve, the impact of N on the energy efficiency performance at a given spectrum efficiency value, and the impact of N on the green point energy efficiency. These results can be conveniently utilized to guide practical LSAS design for optimal energy/spectrum efficiency trade-off. Finally, a reference signal design for the hybrid beamform structure is presented, which achieves better channel estimation performance than the method solely based on analog beamforming. It is expected that large-scale antenna systems with hybrid beamforming structures in the mmWave band can play an important role in 5G.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science Applications
- Computer Networks and Communications
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering