Network management and control for mmWave communications
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Millimeter-wave (mmWave) is one of the key technologies that enables the next wireless generation. mmWave offers a much higher bandwidth than sub-6GHz communications which allows multi-gigabit-per-second rates. This also alleviates the scarcity of spectrum at lower frequencies, where most devices connect through sub-6GHz bands. However new techniques are necessary to overcome the challenges associated with such high frequencies. Most of these challenges come from the high spatial attenuation at the mmWave band, which requires new paradigms that differ from sub-6GHz communications. Most notably mmWave telecommunications are characterized by the need to be directional in order to extend the operational range. This is achieved by using electronically steerable antenna arrays, that focus the energy towards the desired direction by combining each antenna element constructively or destructively. Additionally, most of the energy comes from the Line Of Sight (LOS) component which gives mmWave a quasi-optical behaviour where signals can reflect off walls and still be used for communication. Some other challenges that directional communications bring are mobility tracking, blockages and misalignments due to device rotation. The IEEE 802.11ad amendment introduced wireless telecommunications in the unlicensed 60 GHz band. It is the first standard to address the limitations of mmWave. It does so by introducing new mechanisms at the Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical (PHY) layers. It introduces multi-band operation, relay operation mode, hybrid channel access scheme, beam tracking and beam forming among others. In this thesis we present a series of works that aim to improve mmWave telecommunications. First we give an overview of the intrinsic challenges of mmWave telecommunications, by explaining the modifications to the MAC and PHY layers. This sets the base for the rest of the thesis. Then do a comprehensive study on how mmWave behaves with existing technologies, namely TCP. TCP is unable to distinguish losses caused by congestion or by transmission errors caused by channel degradation. Since mmWave is affected by blockages more than sub-6GHz technologies, we propose a set of parameters that improve the channel quality even for mobile scenarios. The next job focuses on reducing the initial access overhead of mmWave by using sub-6GHz information to steer towards the desired direction. We start this work by doing a comprehensive High Frequency (HF) and Low Frequency (LF) correlation, analyzing the similarity of the existing paths between the two selected frequencies. Then we propose a beam steering algorithm that reduces the overhead to one third of the original time. Once we have studied how to reduce the initial access overhead, we propose a mechanism to reduce the beam tracking overhead. For this we propose an open platform based on a Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) where we implement an algorithm that completely removes the need to train on the Station (STA) side. This is achieved by changing beam patterns on the STA side while the Access Point (AP) is sending the preamble. We can change up to 10 beam patterns without losing connection and we reduce the overhead by a factor of 8.8 with respect to the IEEE 802.11ad standard. Finally we present a dual band location system based on Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) devices. Locating the STA can improve the quality of the channel significantly, since the AP can predict and react to possible blockages. First we reverse engineer existing 60 GHz enabled COTS devices to extract Channel State Information (CSI) and Fine Timing Measurements (FTM) measurements, from which we can estimate angle and distance. Then we develop an algorithm that is able to choose between HF and LF in order to improve the overall accuracy of the system. We achieve less than 17 cm of median error in indoor environments, even when some areas are Non Line Of Sight (NLOS).