Coverage and Capacity in mmWave Cellular Systems


Salam Akoum, Omar El Ayach and Robert W. Heath, Jr.


Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems & Computers, Nov. 2012.


Millimeter wave (mmWave) communication has recently been proposed for use in commercial cellular systems as a solution to the microwave spectrum gridlock. MmWave spectrum is (potentially) available around the globe and recent hardware advances make mass market deployments feasible. In this paper, we study the coverage and capacity of mmWave cellular systems with a special focus on their key differentiating factors such as the limited scattering nature of mmWave channels, and the use of RF beamforming strategies such as beam steering to provide highly directional transmission with limited hardware complexity. We show that, in general, coverage in mmWave systems can rival or even exceed coverage in microwave systems assuming that the link budgets promised by existing mmWave system designs are in fact achieved. This comparable coverage translates into a superior average rate performance for mmWave systems as a result of the larger bandwidth available for transmission.

[download full paper]