Large antenna arrays and high-frequency bands are two key features of future wireless communication systems. The combination of large-scale antennas with high transmission frequencies often results in the communicating devices operating in the near-field (Fresnel) region. In this paper, we study the potential of beam focusing, feasible in near-field operation, in facilitating high-rate multi-user downlink multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) systems. As the ability to achieve beam focusing is dictated by the transmit antenna, we study near-field signalling considering different antenna structures, including fully-digital architectures, hybrid phase shifter-based precoders, and the emerging dynamic metasurface antenna (DMA) architecture for massive MIMO arrays. We first provide a mathematical model to characterize near-field wireless channels as well as the transmission pattern for the considered antenna architectures. Then, we formulate the beam focusing problem for the goal of maximizing the achievable sum-rate in multi-user networks. We propose efficient solutions based on the sum-rate maximization task for fully-digital, (phase shifters based-) hybrid and DMA architectures. Simulation results show the feasibility of the proposed beam focusing scheme for both single- and multi-user scenarios. In particular, the designed focused beams provide a new degree of freedom to mitigate interference in both angle and distance domains, which is not achievable using conventional far-field beam steering, allowing reliable communications for uses even residing at the same angular direction.
- Beam focusing
- dynamic metasurface antennas
- near-field multi-user communication
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science Applications
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Applied Mathematics