mmWall: A Steerable, Transflective Metamaterial Surface for NextG mmWave Networks

Kun Woo Cho, Mohammad H. Mazaheri, Jeremy Gummeson, Omid Abari, Kyle Jamieson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mobile operators are poised to leverage millimeter wave technology as 5G evolves, but despite efforts to bolster their reliability indoors and outdoors, mmWave links remain vulnerable to blockage by walls, people, and obstacles. Further, there is significant interest in bringing outdoor mmWave coverage indoors, which for similar reasons remains challenging today. This paper presents the design, hardware implementation, and experimental evaluation of mmWall, the first electronically almost-360° steerable metamaterial surface that operates above 24 GHz and both refracts or reflects incoming mmWave transmissions. Our metamaterial design consists of arrays of varactor-split ring resonator unit cells, miniaturized for mmWave. Custom control circuitry drives each resonator, overcoming coupling challenges that arise at scale. Leveraging beam steering algorithms, we integrate mmWall into the link layer discovery protocols of common mmWave networks. We have fabricated a 10 cm by 20 cm mmWall prototype consisting of a 28 by 76 unit cell array and evaluated it in indoor, outdoor-to-indoor, and multi-beam scenarios. Indoors, mmWall guarantees 91% of locations outage-free under 128-QAM mmWave data rates and boosts SNR by up to 15 dB. Outdoors, mmWall reduces the probability of complete link failure by a ratio of up to 40% under 0-80% path blockage and boosts SNR by up to 30 dB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 20th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, NSDI 2023
PublisherUSENIX Association
Pages1647-1665
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781939133335
StatePublished - 2023
Event20th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, NSDI 2023 - Boston, United States
Duration: Apr 17 2023Apr 19 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 20th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, NSDI 2023

Conference

Conference20th USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, NSDI 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston
Period4/17/234/19/23

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Control and Systems Engineering

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'mmWall: A Steerable, Transflective Metamaterial Surface for NextG mmWave Networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this