Analysis and Performance Improvement of Consumer-Grade Millimeter Wave Wireless Networks
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Millimeter-wave (mmWave) networks are one of the main key components in next cellular and WLANs (Wireless Local Area Networks). mmWave networks are capable of providing multi gigabit-per-second rates with very directional low-interference and high spatial reuse links. In 2013, the first 60 GHz wireless solution for WLAN appeared in the market. These were wireless docking stations under the WiGig protocol. Today, in 2019, 60 GHz communications have gained importance with the IEEE 802.11ad amendment with different products on the market, including routers, laptops and wireless Ethernet solutions. More importantly, mmWave networks are going to be used in next generation cellular networks, where smartphones will be using the 28 GHz band. For backbone links, 60 GHz communications have been proposed due to its higher directionality and unlicensed use. This thesis fits in this frame of constant development of the mmWave bands to meet the needs of latency and throughput that will be necessary to support future communications. In this thesis, we first characterize the cost-effective design of COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) 60 GHz devices and later we improve their two main weaknesses, which are their low link distance and their non-ideal spatial reuse. It is critical to take into consideration the cost-effective design of COTS devices when designing networking mechanisms. This is why in this thesis we do the first-of-its-kind COTS analysis of 60 GHz devices, studying the D5000 WiGig Docking station and the TP-Link Talon IEEE 802.11ad router. We include static measurements such as the synthesized beam patterns of these devices or an analysis of the area-wide coverage that these devices can fulfill. We perform a spatial reuse analysis and study the performance of these devices under user mobility, showing how robust the link can be under user movement. We also study the feasibility of having flying mmWave links. We mount a 60 GHz COTS device into a drone and perform different measurement campaigns. In this first analysis, we see that these 60 GHz devices have a large performance gap for the achieved communication range as well as a very low spatial reuse. However, they are still suitable for low density WLANs and for next generation aerial micro cell stations. Seeing that these COTS devices are not as directional as literature suggests, we analyze how channels are not as frequency stable as expected due to the large amount of reflected signals. Ideally, frequency selective techniques could be used in these frequency selective channels in order to enlarge the range of these 60 GHz devices. To validate this, we measure real-world 60 GHz indoor channels with a bandwidth of 2 GHz and study their behavior with respect to techniques such as bitloading, subcarrier switch-off, and waterfilling. To this end, we consider a Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM) channel as defined in the IEEE 802.11ad standard and show that in point of fact, these techniques are highly beneficial in mmWave networks allowing for a range extension of up to 50%, equivalent to power savings of up to 7 dB. In order to increase the very limited spatial reuse of these wireless networks, we propose a centralized system that allows the network to carry out the beam training process not only to maximize power but also taking into account other stations in order to minimize interference. This system is designed to work with unmodified clients. We implement and validate our system on commercial off-the-shelf IEEE 802.11ad hardware, achieving an average throughput gain of 24.67% for TCP traffic, and up to a twofold throughput gain in specific cases.