Active RISs: Signal Modeling, Asymptotic Analysis, and Beamforming Design

Zijian Zhang, Linglong Dai, Xibi Chen, Changhao Liu, Fan Yang, Robert Schober, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RISs) have emerged as a candidate technology for future 6G networks. However, due to the 'multiplicative fading' effect, the existing passive RISs only achieve a negligible capacity gain in environments with strong direct links. In this paper, the concept of active RISs is studied to overcome this fundamental limitation. Unlike the existing passive RISs that reflect signals without amplification, active RISs can amplify the reflected signals via amplifiers integrated into their elements. To characterize the signal amplification and incorporate the noise introduced by the active components, we verify the signal model of active RISs through the experimental measurements on a fabricated active RIS element. Based on the verified signal model, we formulate the sum-rate maximization problem for an active RIS aided multi-user multiple-input single-output (MU-MISO) system and a joint transmit precoding and reflect beamforming algorithm is proposed to solve this problem. Simulation results show that, in a typical wireless system, the existing passive RISs can realize only a negligible sum-rate gain of 3%, while the active RISs can achieve a significant sum-rate gain of 62%, thus over coming the 'multiplicative fading' effect. Finally, we develop a 64-element active RIS aided wireless communication prototype, and the significant gain of active RISs is validated by field test.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1618-1624
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings - IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes
Event2022 IEEE Global Communications Conference, GLOBECOM 2022 - Virtual, Online, Brazil
Duration: Dec 4 2022Dec 8 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Signal Processing


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