Integrated Millimeter Wave and Sub-6 GHz Wireless Networks
Next-generation wireless networks must enable emerging technologies such as augmented reality and connected autonomous vehicles via a wide range of wireless services that span enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC). Existing wireless systems that solely rely on the scarce sub-6 GHz, μW frequency bands will be unable to meet such stringent and mixed service requirements for future wireless services due to spectrum scarcity. Meanwhile, operating at high-frequency mmWave bands is seen as an attractive solution, primarily due to the bandwidth availability and possibility of large-scale multi-antenna communication. However, even though leveraging the large bandwidth at mmWave frequencies can potentially boost the wireless capacity for eMBB services and reduce the transmission delay for low-latency applications, mmWave communication is inherently unreliable due to its susceptibility to blockage, high path loss, and channel uncertainty. Hence, to provide URLLC and high-speed wireless access, it is desirable to seamlessly integrate the reliability of μW networks with the high capacity of mmWave networks. To this end, in this article, the first comprehensive tutorial for integrated mmWave-μW communications is introduced. This envisioned integrated design will enable wireless networks to achieve URLLC along with eMBB by leveraging the best of two worlds: reliable, long-range communications at the μW bands and directional high-speed communications at the mmWave frequencies. To achieve this goal, key solution concepts are discussed that include new architectures for the radio interface, URLLC-aware frame structure and resource allocation methods along with mobility management, to realize the potential of integrated mmWave-μW communications. The opportunities and challenges of each proposed scheme are discussed and key results are presented to show the merits of the developed integrated mmWave-μW framework.