mmWave for Army Tactical Communications


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics 

OBJECTIVE: To research and develop cost effective communication systems for use in Anti-Access and Area Denial (A2AD) environments via novel waveforms and techniques that operate in the mmWave frequency band. Identify and develop optimized techniques for mmWave communication system that can operate in contested/congested environments with challenging and dynamic realistic mmWave channel conditions in both stationary and on-the-move (OTM) conditions. 

DESCRIPTION: mmWave communication is a key enabling technology being considered for inclusion in 5G and Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGIG) commercial communications and fixed service wireless backhaul in the 28 and 70 GHz regions. At mmWavelengths, spectrum is abundant compared to that at < 10GHz, typically in use in tactical networks as well as commercial cellular and WLANs. Unlicensed spectrum in the 60GHz region offers up to 100 times more spectrum than is available in the Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) bands or WiFi or 4G at carrier frequencies below 6GHz. Unlicensed spectrum in the 28, 38 and 72 GHz bands alone totals more than 20GHz. More available spectrum makes it possible to achieve higher data rates using comparable modulation techniques to those currently in use. Improvements in modulation and signal processing techniques at mmWave frequencies can only offer further improvements in throughput as well as enhancing Low-Probability-of-Intercept/ Low-Probability-of-Detection (LPI/LPD) and Anti-Jam (AJ) capabilities. Emerging applications for mmWave communications in the commercial sector include: (1) The use of data centers to accommodate growth in the internet and cloud based applications; (2) Peer-to-peer mmWave networks; (3) Vehicular applications including vehicle-to-vehicle communications allowing for collision avoidance and immediate situational awareness (SA) sharing in a convoy. (4) Cellular and mobile communications which could feasibly use 1 to 2 GHz channels (instead of LTE’s 40MHz RF channel bandwidths). Research results show that with relatively small cells (say 200m radius), data rates will increase by a factor of 20 compared to LTE, enabling multi Gbps links for cellphone usage, (Rangan, Vol 102 No 3, Mar 2015). Similar other applications could be explored for use by the warfighter. Applications (1) and (2) above will not be the main-thrust of this SBIR effort. The emphasis will be warfighter communications more similar to that suggested in (3) and (4) above. However any incorporation of proposed technology into use-cases similar to (1) and (2) above can be considered. Payoff to the Army includes the development of extremely high bandwidth links with applicability to multiple relevant applications. Improved communications protection incorporating LPI/LPD and AJ capabilities including interference mitigation. Additional possible other payoffs such as data centers and inter-vehicular applications. 

PHASE I: The Phase I effort will research the development of extremely high bandwidth mmWave links incorporating capabilities for LPI/LPD and AJ for use in challenging channel conditions to include vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle. The Phase I effort shall include a feasibility study including: modulation and coding; synchronization including frequency offset and phase synchronization; channel estimation; single carrier approach versus multicarrier; methods of equalization for each (including frequency domain methods); incorporation of MIMO methods including spatial multiplexing and diversity, beamforming and interference mitigation and precoding. Additionally an overall consideration of system architecture feasibility incorporating the various individual blocks (modulation, synchronization, channel estimation, channel equalization, demodulation, etc.). Considerations should be made for specific problems of mmWave propagation and include realistic mmWave channel models in any simulation results for both outdoor and indoor models for mmWave as is dictated by the use-case and the concept-of-operations for the problem. Consideration of multipath and Doppler channels must be included. Consideration should be given to and planning for mmWave antennas and arrays for use in any subsequent Phase 2 follow-on effort. An analysis of theoretical limits of the various technical approaches shall be presented in addition to any practical limitations for the approaches. Analysis should be reinforced with simulation of the respective approaches. The Phase I effort will identify the optimal approach and provide a recommendation for Phase II implementation. The Phase I deliverable will be a report documenting the results of the Phase I effort and simulation software with a users’ manual and short exemplary use-cases for the simulation software allowing reproduction of some key simulation results from the report. 

PHASE II: The Phase II effort shall construct and demonstrate the operation of a TRL 5/6 prototype mmWave link. The prototype shall incorporate the waveform techniques developed in Phase I. The prototype shall be delivered to the government with an associated user manual, interconnect diagram, and a report documenting the results of the Phase II effort. 

PHASE III: Phase III efforts will focus on reducing the size, weight, and power of the Phase II prototype, maturing the prototypes to TRL 6/7 for integrating into the appropriate Army Program of Record. The technology developed under Phase II may also be modified and transitioned to the commercial cellular for appropriate use in 5G (or other) systems. This technology will be transitioned to PMTR 


1: Rangan, S. T. (Vol 102 No 3, Mar 2015). Milimeter-Wave Cellular Wireless Networks: Potentials and Challenges. Proceedings of the IEEE, pp 366-385.

2:  C. J. Hansen, "WiGiG: Multi-gigabit wireless communications in the 60 GHz band," in IEEE Wireless Communications, vol. 18, no. 6, pp. 6-7, December 2011.

3:  W. Roh et al., "Millimeter-wave beamforming as an enabling technology for 5G cellular communications: theoretical feasibility and prototype results," in IEEE Communications Magazine, vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 106-113, February 2014.

KEYWORDS: MIMO, Space-time, Spatial Filtering, Single-carrier, Multicarrier, Equalizer, Frequency Domain Equalizer, Adaptive Filtering, Active Cancellation, Communications, Electronic Warfare, Multipath, Dismounted, MmWave Channels 

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government