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Smart Antennas for Future Wireless Systems (Technical Insights)
Frost & Sullivan, March 2006
This Technical Insights research service entitled Smart Antennas for Future Wireless Systems provides an overview of the key technologies and latest developments in the smart antenna industry along with a complete analysis of major technology drivers, restraints, and trends. It reviews the advancements in the field of smart antenna technologies and assesses their enormous potential to impact wireless communications in terms of high performance benefits. In this research service, Technical Insights’ expert analysts thoroughly examine the following technologies: beamforming, spatial multiplexing, diversity antennas, and multiple input multiple output (MIMO).
The following technologies are covered in this research:
-Beamforming: Beamforming is an advanced signal processing technique which, when employed along with an array of transmitters or receivers, is capable of controlling the ‘directionality of’ or ‘sensitivity to’ a particular radiation pattern. This method creates the radiation pattern of the antenna array by adding the phases of the signals in the desired direction and by nulling the pattern in the unwanted direction.
-Spatial Multiplexing: The basic concept behind spatial multiplexing is the division (multiplex) of a specific data stream into different branches and subject to transmission in various independent channels in space. Similar to time–division multiplexing (TDM) or frequency–division multiplexing (FDM) which uses the medium of transmission as time and frequency respectively, space–division multiplexing (SDM) or spatial multiplexing uses the transmission medium as space.
Some characteristics of spatial multiplexing include no bandwidth expansion, necessity of space-time equalization in the receiver, and capability of separating data streams from the equalizer in the presence of independent fading processes of the spatial channels.
-Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO): MIMO is the technique in which multiple antennas (multiple transmitters and receivers) are used in wireless systems resulting in a significant increase in the wireless performance. Usage of multiple antennas typically means increased data rates as numerous streams of data can be transferred. Rather than focusing on eradicating effects of multipath, MIMO takes advantage of the multipath phenomena, resulting in high throughput and low bit error rates. MIMO can be used in alignment with orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) and is expected to be a part of the 802.11.n standard.
-Diversity Antennas: Antenna diversity is a technique by which two or more antennas are used on a wireless device in order to null multipath signal distortion. Ideally the signal from the antenna with least noise is chosen and the other antenna is neglected. This method uses transmission of the information carrying signal along various propagation paths. Even in the case of the antennas being not more than a quarter of wavelength apart, significant gains can be realized by using this technique.
The ‘Smart’ Way to Achieve Highly Efficient Wireless Networks
Smart antenna technologies are set to revolutionize the wireless communications industry with their enormous potential to enable the development of more powerful, cost-effective, and efficient wireless systems. While alternative techniques such as lower noise amplifiers and wider bandwidths can be used to improve the performance of wireless systems, they cannot compare with smart antenna technologies – which essentially merge an antenna array with a digital signal processing (DSP) capability – in terms of enhancing their range, speed, and capacity.
"One of the strongest drivers for smart antenna technologies is their performance-enhancing benefits in terms of capacity, coverage, and range," notes the analyst of this research service. "The growing necessity for higher data rates in emerging communication systems with applications such as mobile Internet, high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA), and evolution-data optimized (EV-DO) has increased the need to improve the range as well as speed of wireless links and promoted interest in the deployment of these technologies." Although smart antenna technologies have been used in defense systems for several years, they are yet to make an appearance in commercial systems due to prohibitive costs. However, this is set to change with the development of low-cost DSPs that will allow smart antenna technologies to be used in a wide range of wireless applications such as worldwide interoperability for microwave access (WiMax) and voice over wireless fidelity (VoWi-Fi).
Huge Application Potential for Smart Antenna Technologies
Research into smart antenna technologies has increased tremendously to keep pace with the constantly expanding needs of the wireless communications industry. Emerging application areas such as ultra wideband (UWB), radio frequency identification (RFID), and mobile direct broadcast satellite (DBS) are expected to see extensive adoption of these technologies in the next few years. For instance, smart antennas can greatly improve the performance of mobile DBS in increasingly popular automotive accessories such as back-seat video systems. Innovative applications based on the benefits of these technologies, such as providing location information during emergencies, are also emerging in the market.
"The best near-term application opportunities for smart antennas are wireless local area networks (WLANs), mobile DBS, WiMax, and cellular areas," says the analyst. "By 2007, they are expected to become a common feature in these application areas and with the confirmation of 802.11n standards, the number of smart antenna products entering the market is likely to increase considerably."
-1. Executive Summary
--1. Scope and Methodology
--2. Key Findings
---1. Noteworthy Emerging Technologies and Trends
---2. Noteworthy Applications and Trends
-2. Technology and Applications Viewpoint
--1. Technology and Applications Analysis
---1. Technology Primer--Smart Antennas
---2. Emerging Smart Antenna Technologies
---3. Industry Trends
---4. Competing Technologies
--2. Smart Antenna Applications - Compatibility Standards
---1. Wireless Fidelity
---2. Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access
--3. Smart Antenna Applications - Technologies and Products
---1. Related Technologies
---2. Wireless Products
-3. Technology Adoption Factor Analysis
--1. Smart Antenna Technology--Drivers and Challenges
---1. Growth Drivers
a. Capability to increase the performance of wireless networks
b. Low cost of DSPs
c. Adoption of the smart antenna architectures in the standards developments process
d. OFDM and potential to satisfy emerging applications' requirements
e. More mature industry
f. Extensive funding and research
---2. Technology Challenges
--2. Smart Antenna Consortiums/Partnerships and Events
---2. Workshops/Events Related to Smart Antenna Industry
-4. Assessment of Innovations and Opportunities
--1. Innovative Developments in North America
---1. Creating 'Personal Cells'
---2. Using 'Noise' to Lessen Interference
---3. Guess Who Decided to 'Chip' in
---4. Improved Quality of Signal--Prebeam Steer
---5. MIMO in the Mobile Environment
---6. MCSB Technology for Wireless Broadband
---7. What’s All This ‘Ruckus’ About?
---8. Wireless ‘BEAMS’ up!
---9. Use of Smart Antennas in Software-Defined Radios
---10. Shrinking Antenna Dimensions for Compact Wireless Devices
---11. Research on MIMO for High-Data Wireless Communications
--2. Innovative Developments in Europe/Asia
---1. Software Solutions for Efficient Deployment of Smart Antennas
---2. Impact of Fast Changing Channel Conditions on Signal Quality
---3. Smart and Semismart Antennas
---4. Digital ACU--Addressing the Ever-Increasing Need for Capacity
---5. Analog Aerial Beamforming
---6. Research on Multiple Antennas Using Spatial Multiplexing
---7. Hybrid Scheme--Combination of MIMO Multiplexing and MIMO Diversity
-5. Patents and Database of Key Industry Participants
--1. Patents and Glossary
---1. Key Patents
--2. Key Participants
----2. Research Labs
-6. Frost & Sullivan 2006 Science and Technology Awards
--1. Technology Innovation Award
---1. Award Description
---2. Award Recipient
--2. Product Innovation Award
---1. Award Description
---2. Award Recipient
--3. Excellence in Research Award
---1. Award Description
---2. Award Recipient
-7. Decision Support Database
--1. Database Tables
---1. Global Cellular Handsets Installed Base (1999-2006)
---2. Total Portable PC Installed Base (1999-2006)
---3. Unit Shipment of PDAs--North America (1999-2009)
---4. Global Internet Penetration (1999-2006)
---5. Global Mobile Handset Production (1996-2004)
---6. Global Mobile Handsets Installed (1996-2004)