Wireless Communications with Physically Large Antenna Arrays
The early 5G deployments are almost exclusively based on “Massive MIMO” technology, where each base station has an array with many antenna-integrated radios. This is a great achievement for a technology concept that, ten years ago‚ was generally believed to be too bulky, overly power hungry, and only useful in niche scenarios. Despite the word “massive”, 5G base stations are physically small from the user’s viewpoint. What if we would build truly physically large antenna arrays in the future? In this plenary, we take a look at the benefits of such large antenna arrays can for future wireless communication systems. In particular, we will discover how the near-field effects of large arrays can be much different from the near-field effects of individual antennas. The new insights are useful when designing both active and passive reconfigurable intelligent surfaces.