IEEE Tech Focus - October 2021

IEEE Future Networks Tech Focus
Issue 13, October 2021

In This Issue


Millimeter-wave Metantenna Technologies in 5G and Beyond

October 2021

Zhi Ning ChenDepartment of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National University of Singapore

The antenna is one of the most important technologies in all modern wireless networks. The deployment of new wireless systems always creates new technical challenges or opportunities for the development of antenna technologies from radiators to systems. The concepts of metamaterials have broken the boundaries of the conventional EM engineering. In particular, the applications of metasurfaces, a new design concept of two-dimensional EM structures, have offered the new opportunities to the innovative antenna technology. This article addresses the challenges and progress in the development of metamaterial/metasurface-based antennas, metantennas in short, in 5G millimeter-wave bands. Four design examples from 2 cases of flat lenses, a shared aperture to a dual-band metantennas demonstrate the applications of metantennas for 5G network. Of them one example of three-beam metalens antenna operating at 5G New Radio 2-GHz bands is also selected because the design method can be directly extended to the designs at millimeter-wave bands. The success in the applications of metantennas has shown the promising way for developing the antennas for new functionalities and new performance levels in 5G and beyond networks.

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Radio Propagation Modelling for Smart Environments in 5G/6G Networks

October 2021

Jiliang Zhang, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
Jie Zhang, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, the University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK, and Ranplan Wireless Network Design Ltd., Cambridge, UK.

Over 80% of mobile traffic takes place in buildings. Building layouts and materials have a significant impact on radio propagation in indoor environments. While wireless link capacity is approaching the Shannon limit, optimizing building layouts and modifying material electromagnetic properties become a promising way to enhance in-building wireless communication performance. We foresee that in 6G, smart environments (SEs) enabled by wireless friendly building structures and materials will either interact with wireless networks or be part of them. With SEs, radio channels become much more dynamic, which gives rise to challenges in radio propagation modelling. In this article, we first present the latest results on channel models for SEs with integrated network devices. Then, we examine dynamic radio propagation modelling for SEs with metamaterials (MMs) and intelligent reflecting surfaces (IRSs). Next, we present results on outdoor-indoor radio propagation in neighborhood small cell networks. After that, we shed lights on wireless performance modelling for buildings. Finally, we summarize our key findings and highlight a few research directions on radio propagation modelling for SEs in 6G.

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Optical Transport for 5G Mobile Network: Challenges and Solutions

October 2021

Jim Zou, Jörg-Peter Elbers, ADVA Optical Networking SE, Martinsried/Munich, Germany

As 5G roll-out accelerates globally, the mobile network operators are facing more heavy lifting over the fixed transport infrastructure, carrying not only broadband but also time-critical traffic between the data center and antenna sites. The fundamental question is what the options are and how best to design the transport network, with the goal that any solution must be cost-saving and future-proof. This article therefore reviews optical 5G transport challenges and feasible solutions, and we discuss how the optical underlay and the transport protocol can be used to consolidate future front- and backhaul traffic on an optical network infrastructure.

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IEEE Future Networks Tech Focus Editorial Board

Rod Waterhouse, Editor-in-Chief
Mithun Mukherjee, Managing Editor
Imran Shafique Ansari
Anwer Al-Dulaimi
Stefano Buzzi
Yunlong Cai
Zhi Ning Chen
Panagiotis Demestichas
Ashutosh Dutta
Yang Hao
Gerry Hayes
Chih-Lin I
James Irvine
Meng Lu
Amine Maaref
Thas Nirmalathas
Sen Wang
Shugong Xu
Haijun Zhang
Glaucio Haroldo Silva de Carvalho