Millimeter-Wave Channel Measurement and Modeling: A NIST Perspective

Published: December 07, 2018


Camillo A. Gentile, Peter B. Papazian, Nada T. Golmie, Catherine A. Remley, Peter G. Vouras, Jelena Senic, Jian Wang, Jack Chuang, Ruoyu Sun


The exponential increase in wireless data transmission from smartphones has led to the saturation of the sub-6-GHz bands, forcing cellular providers to migrate to the millimeter-wave (mmWave) regime for 5G. Although available channel bandwidths will grow from tens of MHz to several GHz, propagation loss will be substantially higher. To compensate the link budget, phased-array antennas with 20-40 dBi gain will be employed at the base and mobile stations. Since beamwidth is inversely proportional to gain, the resultant pencilbeams will only be 3 – 15° wide and so must be electronically steered to ensure alignment between the stations. The high directionality of 5G systems will fundamentally change channel-propagation models and channel-sounding systems and techniques used to measure the model properties. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is on the forefront of defining the change. In this paper, we provide an overview of mmWave channel sounding through the three types of systems – switched array, virtual array, and phased array – we have at 28, 60, and 83 GHz. In addition, we describe how mmWave channel models – for path loss, dispersion, multipath tracking, Doppler spread, and blockage – differ from sub-6-GHz models, substantiated by some of our most recent results.
Citation: IEEE Communications Magazine
Volume: 56
Issue: 12
Pub Type: Journals


mmWave, channel sounding, path loss, dispersion, multipath tracking, Doppler spread, blockage, D2D
Created December 07, 2018, Updated February 14, 2019