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April 11, 2019

Article: Multi-Beam Phased Array with Full Digital Beamforming for SATCOM and 5G

Article from Microwave Journal

As we usher in the age of large capacity wireless access systems demanding high spectral efficiencies, array antennas are playing an increasing role. MIMO antenna arrays have become integral to the standards for cellular and wireless local area networks. These active antenna arrays will play an equally important role in next-generation high throughput satellite (HTS) communications. Also, the large low Earth orbit (LEO) and medium Earth orbit (MEO) constellations planned by companies like OneWeb, Telesat, SES and SpaceX will need ground terminal antennas that track multiple satellites. This convergence of trends is driving a shift from passive antennas with static fixed beam patterns to fully steerable, active smart antennas.
In this article, we discuss the advantages of digital beamforming (DBF) for capacity, control and flexibility. Until now, DBF was largely a concept because of the cost and complexity to implement a usable solution. We will describe a commercial ASIC implementing DBF with true time delay (TTD) that realizes its potential. DBF combined with an integrated RF front-end (RFFE) enables modular electronically-steerable multi-beam array (ESMA) antenna systems for a wide range of applications.


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