Intelligent Reflecting Surface-Assisted Millimeter Wave Communications: Joint Active and Passive Precoding Design

28 Aug 2019  ·  Peilan Wang, Jun Fang, Xiaojun Yuan, Zhi Chen, Huiping Duan, Hongbin Li ·

Millimeter wave (MmWave) communications is capable of supporting multi-gigabit wireless access thanks to its abundant spectrum resource. However, the severe path loss and high directivity make it vulnerable to blockage events, which can be frequent in indoor and dense urban environments. To address this issue, in this paper, we introduce intelligent reflecting surface (IRS) as a new technology to provide effective reflected paths to enhance coverage of mmWave signals. In this framework, we study joint active and passive precoding design for IRS-assisted mmWave systems, where multiple IRSs are deployed to assist the data transmission from a base station (BS) to a single-antenna receiver. Our objective is to maximize the received signal power by jointly optimizing the transmit precoding vector at the BS and the phase shift parameters used by IRSs for passive beamforming. Although such an optimization problem is generally non-convex, we show that, by exploiting some important characteristics of mmWave channels, an optimal closed-form solution can be derived for the single IRS case and a near-optimal analytical solution can be obtained for the multi-IRS case. Our analysis reveals that the received signal power increases quadratically with the number of reflecting elements for both the single IRS and multi-IRS cases. Simulation results are included to verify the optimality and near-optimality of our proposed solutions. Results also show that IRSs can help create effective virtual LOS paths and thus substantially improve robustness against blockages in mmWave communications.

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