Most Popular Article of 2017: 5G Cellular User Equipment: From Theory to Practical Hardware Design

Research and development on the next generation wireless systems, namely 5G, has experienced explosive growth in recent years. In the physical layer, the massive multiple-input-multiple output (MIMO) technique and the use of high GHz frequency bands are two promising trends for adoption. Millimeter-wave (mmWave) bands, such as 28, 38, 64, and 71 GHz, which were previously considered not suitable for commercial cellular networks, will play an important role in 5G. Currently, most 5G research deals with the algorithms and implementations of modulation and coding schemes, new spatial signal processing technologies, new spectrum opportunities, channel modeling, 5G proof of concept systems, and other system-level enabling technologies. In this paper, we first investigate the contemporary wireless user equipment (UE) hardware design, and unveil the critical 5G UE hardware design constraints on circuits and systems. On top of the said investigation and design tradeoff analysis, a new, highly reconfigurable system architecture for 5G cellular user equipment, namely distributed phased arrays based MIMO (DPA-MIMO) is proposed. Finally, the link budget calculation and data throughput numerical results are presented for the evaluation of the proposed architecture.

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