Distributed transmit beamforming: Challenges and recent progress

Raghuraman Mudumbai, D. Richard Brown, Upamanyu Madhow, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

415 Scopus citations


Distributed transmit beamforming is a form of cooperative communication in which two or more information sources simultaneously transmit a common message and control the phase of their transmissions so that the signals constructively combine at an intended destination. Depending on the design objectives and constraints, the power gains of distributed beamforming can be translated into dramatic increases in range, rate, or energy efficiency. Distributed beamforming may also provide benefits in terms of security and interference reduction since less transmit power is scattered in unintended directions. Key challenges in realizing these benefits, however, include coordinating the sources for information sharing and timing synchronization and, most crucially, distributed carrier synchronization so that the transmissions combine constructively at the destination. This article reviews promising recent results in architectures, algorithms, and working prototypes which indicate that these challenges can be surmounted. Directions for future research needed to translate the potential of distributed beamforming into practice are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-110
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Communications Magazine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Antennas and propagation
  • Array signal processing
  • Gain
  • Master-slave
  • Signal to noise ratio
  • Synchronization
  • Timing


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