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Seamless Millimeter-wave Connectivity via Efficient Beamforming and Handover

Time: Fri 2021-04-23 14.00

Location: zoom link for online defense (English)

Subject area: Information and Communication Technology

Doctoral student: Sara Khosravi , Radio Systems Laboratory (RS Lab), Kommunikationssystem, CoS, Communication Systems, CoS

Opponent: Professor Riku Jäntti, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland

Supervisor: Associate Professor Marina Petrova, Radio Systems Laboratory (RS Lab); Professor Jens Zander, Radio Systems Laboratory (RS Lab)

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Extremely high data rate demands, and the spectrum scarcity at the microwave bands, make the millimeter wave (mmWave) band a promising solution to satisfy the high data rate demands in wireless networks. The main advantage of moving to the mmWave spectrum is the availability of large bandwidth. Moreover, due to an order of magnitude smaller wavelength of mmWave signals in compared to the conventional bands, many antenna elements can be incorporated in a small size chip to provide high directivity gain both at the transmitter and the receiver sides.Millimeter wave links experience severe vulnerability to the obstacles compared to the conventional sub-6 GHz networks for two main reasons. First, due to the tiny wavelength, mmWave signals can easily be blocked by obstacles in the environment and this causes severe loss. Second, due to the use of directional communications to compensate for the high path-loss (the distance-dependent component of the attenuation), mmWave links are sensitive to blockages that leads to the high probability of beam misalignment and the frequent updating of beamforming vectors. These issues are more challenging in mobile scenarios, in which mobility of the users and obstacles cause frequent re-execution of the beamforming process. Therefore, the tradeoff between the latency of the beamforming process (which latency increases with the number of the re-execution of the beamforming process) and instantaneous user rate is a significant design challenge in mmWave networks. Moreover, to provide adequate coverage and capacity, the density of the base stations in mmWave networks is usually higher than the conventional sub-6 GHz network. This leads to frequent handovers that make maintaining and establishing the mmWave links more challenging.

Motivated by the mentioned challenges, this thesis considers the beamforming and handover problems and proposes lightweight joint beamforming and handover methods to guarantee a certain data rate along user trajectory. Specifically, in the first thread of the thesis, inspired by the fundamental properties of the spacial channel response of mmWave links, we propose a beamforming method in mobile mmWave networks. Our analysis reveals that our proposed method is efficient in terms of signaling and computation complexity, power consumption, and throughput in compared to the benchmark. 

In the second thread of the thesis, we focus on the handover problem. We formulate the association problem that maximizes the trajectory rate while guarantees a predefined data rate threshold. We then extend our problem to the multi-user dense scenario that the density of the users is higher than the base stations and consider the resource allocation in the association optimization problem. We apply reinforcement learning in order to approximate the solution of the association problem. In general, the main objective of our proposed method is to maximize the sum rates of all the users and minimize the number of the handovers and reduce the probability of the events in which the users' rate becomes less than a predefined threshold. Simulation results confirm that our proposed handover method provides a reliable connection along a trajectory in compared to the benchmarks.