Terra: Blockage Resilience in Outdoor mmWave Networks

25 Sep 2022  ·  Santosh Ganji, Jaewon Kim, P. R. Kumar ·

We address the problem of pedestrian blockage in outdoor mm-Wave networks, which can disrupt Line of Sight (LoS) communication and result in an outage. This necessitates either reacquisition as a new user that can take up to 1.28 sec in 5G New Radio, disrupting high-performance applications, or handover to a different base station (BS), which however requires very costly dense deployments to ensure multiple base stations are always visible to a mobile outdoors. We have found that there typically exists a strong ground reflection from concrete and gravel surfaces, within 4-6 dB of received signal strength (RSS) of LoS paths. The mobile can switch to such a Non-Line Sight (NLoS) beam to sustain the link for use as a control channel during a blockage event. This allows the mobile to maintain time-synchronization with the base station, allowing it to revert to the LoS path when the temporary blockage disappears. We present a protocol, Terra, to quickly discover, cache, and employ ground reflections. It can be used in most outdoor built environments since pedestrian blockages typically last only a few hundred milliseconds.

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