NIST, Defense Researchers Propose Ways to Improve Industrial Wireless Systems

Many see millimeter-wave (mmWave) bands as having potential to provide machine-to-machine communications advancing industrial wireless systems. Compared to today’s wireless bands, mmWave bands would enable larger bandwidth, higher directivity, improved signal reception, and increase efficient spectrum use.

At the 2022 Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems, and Computers, the NIST Industrial Wireless Systems team, in collaboration with a Department of Defense researcher, introduced ways to improve the use of mmWave band in industrial wireless systems. Notably, the NIST and Defense researchers proposed ways to improve the testing and assessment of mmWave propagation and reception in machine-to-machine communications, based on research papers presented and published at the conference. 

Improved Propagation: This approach is described in the paper, Wideband Synthetic Aperture Test Bed for Intelligent Reflecting Surfaces, and involves using synthetic aperture to accurately assess mmWave transmissions, which are strengthened and focused on a receiver, using adjustable small reflective units, called “Intelligent Reflecting Surfaces.” Previously, the used beamforming at synthetic aperture did not account for the scattering of the beam’s reflected energy.  Researchers therefore developed a means for processing the synthetic aperture data to predict and account for the fields scattered from Intelligent Reflecting Surfaces.

Improved Reception: The approach described in the paper, Optimized Sparse Sampling Lattices, which was presented at the conference, involves using an algorithm to adjust an array of antennas such that they receive a focused mmWave beam, with less radiation lost to “sidelobes” – or radiation that is not received. The approach is designed to increase beam strength, reliability, and efficiency.

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