Category Archives: Technical insights

Episode 10: Reaching the Terabit/s Goal

We have now released the tenth episode of the podcast Wireless Future, with the following abstract:

5G promises peak data speeds above 1 gigabit per second. Looking further into the future, will wireless technology eventually deliver 1 terabit per second? How can the technology be evolved to reach that goal, and what would the potential use cases be? In this episode, Erik G. Larsson and Emil Björnson provide answers to these questions and discuss the practical challenges that must be overcome at the hardware level and in wireless propagation. To learn more, they recommend the article “Scoring the Terabit/s Goal: Broadband Connectivity in 6G”.

You can watch the video podcast on YouTube:

You can listen to the audio-only podcast at the following places:

Episode 9: Q/A on Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces

We have now released the ninth episode of the podcast Wireless Future, with the following abstract:

In this episode, Emil Björnson and Erik G. Larsson answer questions from the listeners on the topic of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces. Some examples are: What kind of materials are used? When can the technology beat traditional relays? How quickly can one change the surface’s configuration? Are there any real-time experiments? How can the research community avoid misconceptions spreading around new technologies?

You can watch the video podcast on YouTube:

You can listen to the audio-only podcast at the following places:

Episode 8: Analog versus Digital Beamforming

We have now released the eighth episode of the podcast Wireless Future, with the following abstract:

The new 5G millimeter wave systems make use of classical analog beamforming technology. It is often claimed that digital beamforming cannot be used in these bands due to its high energy consumption. In this episode, Erik G. Larsson and Emil Björnson are visited by Bengt Lindoff, Chief Systems Architect at the startup BeammWave. The conversation covers how fully digital beamforming solutions are now being made truly competitive and what this means for the future of wireless communications. To learn more about BeammWave’s hardware architecture visit https://www.beammwave.com/whitepapers.

You can watch the video podcast on YouTube:

You can listen to the audio-only podcast at the following places:

Episode 7: Machine Learning for Wireless

We have now released the seventh episode of the podcast Wireless Future, with the following abstract:

What role will machine learning play in wireless communications? In this episode, Emil Björnson and Erik G. Larsson begin by discussing the fundamentals of machine learning and what it means to “learn” something. They discuss what are the good use cases for machine learning in communications, and what are less convincing use cases. To learn more, they recommend the article “Two Applications of Deep Learning in the Physical Layer of Communication Systems”.

You can watch the video podcast on YouTube:

You can listen to the audio-only podcast at the following places:

Episode 6: Q/A on Massive MIMO

We would like to thank our podcast listeners for all the questions that they have asked on social media. We decided to categorize the questions and answer those related to Massive MIMO in the sixth episode of the podcast Wireless Future. There will be further Q/A episodes next year. The new episode has the following abstract:

In this New Year’s special, Erik G. Larsson and Emil Björnson answer questions from the listeners on the topic of Massive MIMO. Some examples are: How are the antennas calibrated? Will digital beamforming replace analog beamforming? What is channel hardening and how is it related to power control? Can Massive MIMO interact with drones? Practical issues such as the peak-to-average-power ratio (PAPR) and effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) are also discussed.

You can watch the video podcast on YouTube:

You can listen to the audio-only podcast at the following places:

Episode 5: Millimeter Wave Communication

We have now released the fifth episode of the podcast Wireless Future, with the following abstract:

What happened to millimeter wave communications? It is often described as synonymous with 5G, but barely any of the brand new 5G networks make use of it. In this episode, Erik G. Larsson and Emil Björnson discuss the basic properties of millimeter waves, whether it is the long sought “holy grail” in wireless communications, and where the technology stands today. To learn more, they recommend the articles “Antenna Count for Massive MIMO: 1.9 GHz versus 60 GHz” and “Massive MIMO in Sub-6 GHz and mmWave: Physical, Practical, and Use-Case Differences.

You can watch the video podcast on YouTube:

You can listen to the audio-only podcast at the following places:

Who is Who in Massive MIMO?

I taught a course on complex networks this fall, and one component of the course is a hands-on session where students use the SNAP C++ and Python libraries for graph analysis, and Gephi for visualization. One available dataset is DBLP, a large publication database in computer science, that actually includes a lot of electrical engineering as well.

In a small experiment I filtered DBLP for papers with both “massive” and “MIMO” in the title, and analyzed the resulting co-author graph. There are 17200 papers and some 6000 authors.  There is a large connected component, with over 400 additional much smaller connected components!

Then I looked more closely at authors who have written at least 20 papers. Each node is an author, its size is proportional to his/her number of “massive MIMO papers”, and its color represents identified communities. Edge thicknesses represent the number of co-authored papers.  Some long-standing collaborators, former students, and other friends stand out.  (Click on the figure to enlarge it.)

To remind readers of the obvious, prolificacy is not the same as impact, even though they are often correlated. Also, the study is not entirely rigorous. For one thing, it trusts that DBLP properly distinguishes authors with the same name (consider e.g., “Li Li”) and I do not know how well it really does that. Second, in a random inspection all papers I had filtered out dealt with “massive MIMO” as we know it. However, theoretically, the search criterion would also catch papers on, say, MIMO control theory for a massive power plant.  Also, the filtering does miss some papers written before the “massive MIMO” term was established, perhaps most importantly Thomas Marzetta’s seminal paper on “unlimited antennas”.  Third, the analysis is limited to publications covered by DBLP, which also means, conversely, that there is no specific quality threshold for the publication venues. Anyone interested in learning more, drop me a note.