Energy-Efficient Interactive Beam Alignment for Millimeter-Wave Networks

Muddassar Hussain, Nicolo Michelusi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Millimeter-wave will be a key technology in next-generation wireless networks thanks to abundant bandwidth availability. However, the use of large antenna arrays with beamforming demands precise beam alignment between the transmitter and the receiver and may entail huge overhead in mobile environments. This paper investigates the design of an optimal interactive beam alignment and data communication protocol, with the goal of minimizing power consumption under a minimum rate constraint. The base station selects beam alignment or data communication and the beam parameters, based on the feedback from the user end. Based on the sectored antenna model and uniform prior on the angles of departure and arrival (AoD/AoA), the optimality of a fixed-length beam-Alignment phase followed by a data-communication phase is demonstrated. Moreover, a decoupled fractional beam-Alignment method is shown to be optimal, which decouples the alignment of AoD and AoA over time, and iteratively scans a fraction of their region of uncertainty. A heuristic policy is proposed for non-uniform prior on AoD/AoA, with provable performance guarantees, and it is shown that the uniform prior is the worst-case scenario. The performance degradation due to detection errors is studied analytically and via simulation. The numerical results with analog beams depict up to 4dB, 7.5dB, and 14dB gains over a state-of-The-Art bisection method and conventional and interactive exhaustive search policies, respectively, and demonstrate that the sectored model provides valuable insights for beam-Alignment design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8573158
Pages (from-to)838-851
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Markov decision process
  • Millimeter-wave
  • beam-Alignment
  • initial access

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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