Enabling Long-Range Large-Scale Channel Sounding at Sub-THz Bands: Virtual Array and Radio-Over-Fiber Concepts

Sub-terahertz (sub-THz) (i.e., 100–300 GHz) communication is envisaged as one of the key building blocks for future communication systems due to its vast unexploited bandwidth. Knowledge of the radio channel characteristics is key to the design and development of new radio systems and air interfaces. Reliable channel sounding is essential to build accurate and realistic channel models. The virtual antenna array (VAA) has been a popular channel sounding strategy to obtain accurate directional characterization due to its low-cost and simple system implementation. However, this concept has not yet been realized for sub-THz bands in the state-of-the-art works due to difficulty in accurate phase control. The measurement range has been rather limited at sub-THz due to significant signal loss, especially in the radio frequency (RF) cables, compared to microwave or millimeter-wave frequencies. In this article, we focus on vector network analyzer (VNA)-based channel sounders, highlighting frequency extension with sub-THz frequency extenders, measurement range extension with radio-over-fiber (RoF) schemes, and angular resolution improvement by VAA implementation with a phase-compensation scheme. These techniques enable and enhance sub-THz channel characterization. The performance of the proposed long-range phase-compensated sounder is also experimentally demonstrated by the VAA-based channel measurements at 100 GHz in an indoor scenario.

Lyu Yejian, Yuan Zhiqiang, Li Mengting, Mbugua Allan Wainaina, Kyosti Pekka, Fan Wei

A1 Journal article (peer-reviewed)

Y. Lyu, Z. Yuan, M. Li, A. W. Mbugua, P. Kyösti and W. Fan, "Enabling Long-Range Large-Scale Channel Sounding at Sub-THz Bands: Virtual Array and Radio-Over-Fiber Concepts," in IEEE Communications Magazine, vol. 62, no. 2, pp. 16-22, February 2024, doi: 10.1109/MCOM.001.2200411.

https://doi.org/10.1109/MCOM.001.2200411 https://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-202403112141