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Design and Physical Realization of Phased Array Antennas for MIMO/Beam Steering Applications

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Design and Physical Realization of Phased Array Antennas for MIMO/Beam Steering Applications 3 Why Phased Arrays Radar or communication system designers see the array antenna as a component with measurable input and output, and a set of specifications. Array designers see the details of the array, and the physical and electrical limitations imposed by the radar or communications system, and, within those constraints, they must optimize this complex component. For either scenario, the AWR VSS software provides the capability to perform RF link-budget analysis to determine the high-level antenna specifications that will fulfill the communication or radar system requirements for the system designer, as well as the framework for the antenna component designer to develop the underlying antenna technology. For 5G and automobile radar applications, the mmWave spectrum offers the benefit of more bandwidth, but higher frequency propagation comes with greater free-space path loss, as isotropic free-space attenuation is inversely proportional to the second power of the wavelength, as shown in Figure 2. Figure 2: Attenuation levels (1 km path at sea level) due to oxygen and water vapor versus frequency In addition, as wavelengths get smaller, physical processes such as diffraction, scattering, and material penetration loss, along with this additional path loss, make the channel properties of mmWave bands significantly more challenging. One reason for using arrays is to produce a directive beam that can be repositioned (scanned) electronically, which is necessary in mmWave systems that must overcome greater channel losses. The deployment environment and specific application, which include urban micro/macro, indoor, backhaul, device-to-device (D2D), vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), and public spaces, determine the channel characteristics for 5G communications. The impact on the antenna requirements is driven by the number of spatial clusters and multipath components per cluster, as well as the spatial dynamics. If the environment is a spatially rich channel, the antenna beam steering requirements are not as important compared to a sparser channel, which will have less fading but require much better beam steering. As a result, designers will need to consider the deployment environment, among other issues, when developing the optimum array for a given application. For this reason, the tools for developing phased arrays must provide a faster, easier method for exploring design options, while also incorporating rigorous EM, circuit, and system simulation. This level of co-simulation is necessary in order to accurately capture antenna radiation patterns and interactions between the antenna and the active front-end components in the feed network prior to prototyping. These design tools should operate within an integrated platform that supports co-simulation, interoperability between simulators, and ready access to shared data. AWR Design Environment software provides this framework to support key aspects of phased array design configuration, analysis, and optimization.

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