Virtual Antenna Array with Directional Antennas for Millimeter-Wave Channel Characterization

Mengting Li, Fengchun Zhang, Yilin Ji, Wei Fan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
146 Downloads (Pure)


Millimeter-wave (mm-Wave) band channel modeling and characterization are essential for system design and analysis in the fifth generation (5G) and future communication systems. Reliable channel sounding in the deployment scenarios is required for accurate and realistic channel modeling and characterization. In the state of the art, directional scanning sounding (DSS) and virtual antenna array (VAA) sounding are two popular methods due to their simplicity and cost-effectiveness. The DSS and the VAA methods are typically based on mechanically rotatable directional antennas and mechanically movable omnidirectional antennas, respectively. However, the spatial resolution is limited by the directivity and high sidelobes of the directional antennas used in the DSS method. The conventional VAA method also has limitations in terms of the low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and the unavailability of suitable omnidirectional antennas that support mmWave (above 60 GHz) band measurements and wideband horizontal polarization measurements. In this article, a novel directional antenna-based VAA framework in combination with the associated beamforming algorithm is proposed. Compared to the state-of-the-art methods, the proposed framework can achieve high angular resolution and high SNR for mm-Wave channel measurements without introducing additional cost and measurement time. Furthermore, it is a generic solution that can be applicable for arbitrary frequency bands and polarizations, unlike the conventional VAA method. To validate the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed method, experiments in two scenarios (a clean anechoic chamber and a realistic indoor meeting room) were conducted over 28-30 GHz with two types of directional antennas (i.e., a horn antenna and a corrugated antenna). Besides, the advantages of the proposed method are highlighted with a comparison to the conventional VAA and DSS methods.

Original languageEnglish
JournalI E E E Transactions on Antennas and Propagation
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)6992-7003
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022


  • Antenna arrays
  • Antenna measurements
  • Antenna radiation patterns
  • Beamforming
  • Directional antennas
  • Directive antennas
  • Horn antennas
  • Millimeter-wave (mm-Wave)
  • Omnidirectional antennas
  • channel sounding
  • directional antennas
  • virtual antenna array
  • millimeter-wave (mm-Wave)
  • virtual antenna array (VAA)


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