Analysis and Optimization for Robust Millimeter-Wave Communications

Abstract: Spectrum scarcity is a longstanding problem in mobile telecommunications networks. Specifically, accommodating the ever-growing data rate and communications demand in the extensively used spectrum between 800 MHz and 6 GHz is becoming more challenging. For this reason, in the last years, communications in the millimeterwave (mm-wave) frequency range (30-300 GHz) have attracted the interest of many researchers, who consider mm-wave communications a key enabler for upcoming generations of mobile communications, i.e., 5G and 6G. However, the signal propagation in the mm-wave frequency range is subject to more challenging conditions. High path loss and penetration loss may lead to short-range communications and frequent transmission interruptions when the signal path between the transmitter and the receiver is blocked. In this dissertation, we analyze and optimize techniques that enhance the robustness and reliability of mm-wave communications. In the first part, we focus on approaches that allow user equipment (UE) to establish and maintain connections with multiple access points (APs) or relays, i.e., multi-connectivity (MC) and relaying techniques, to increase link failure robustness. In such scenarios, an inefficient link scheduling, i.e., over or under-provisioning of connections, can lead to either high interference and energy consumption or unsatisfied user’s quality of service (QoS) requirements. In the first paper, we propose a novel link scheduling algorithm for network throughput maximization with constrained resources and quantify the potential gain of MC. As a complementary approach, in the second paper, we solve the problem of minimizing allocated resources while satisfying users’ QoS requirements for mm-wave MC scenarios. To deal with the channel uncertainty and abrupt blockages, we propose a learning-based solution, of which the results highlight the tradeoff between reliability and allocated resource. In the third paper, we perform throughput and delay analysis of a multi-user mm-wave wireless network assisted by a relay. We show the benefits of cooperative networking and the effects of directional communications on relay-aided mm-wave communications. These, as highlighted by the results, are characterized by a tradeoff between throughput and delay and are highly affected by the beam alignment duration and transmission strategy (directional or broadcast). The second part of this dissertation focuses on problems related to mm-wave communications in industrial scenarios, where robots and new industrial applications require high data rates, and stringent reliability and latency requirements. In the fourth paper, we consider a multi-AP mm-wave wireless network covering an industrial plant where multiple moving robots need to be connected. We show how the joint optimization of robots’ paths and the robot-AP associations can increase mm-wave robustness by decreasing the number of handovers and avoiding coverage holes. Finally, the fifth paper considers scenarios where robot-AP communications are assisted by an intelligent reflective surface (IRS). We show that the joint optimization of beamforming and trajectory of the robot can minimize the motion energy consumption while satisfying time and communication QoS constraints. Moreover, the proposed solution exploits a radio map to prevent collisions with obstacles and to increase mm-wave communication robustness by avoiding poorly covered areas. 

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