Multi-beam hub base station antenna for ultra fast MIMO

October 15, 2012 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
A multi-beam hub base station antenna, model number MBA6-3.5DS45/2045, has been developed by Cobham Antenna Systems, Microwave Antennas to enable MIMO (multiple input multiple output) radio system operators to meet their goal of 1 Gbps/km-square anywhere within a cell.

Designed for high speed MIMO 4G (and beyond) urban access for backhaul, this was originally a European Union funded project that has become a finished and available multi-beam antenna with additional military and security beneficial applications.

By removing barriers to next-generation network deployment, this multi-narrow-beam antenna allows for a dramatic increase in capacity over existing communication systems. It provides an essential component enabling an improvement to the overall infrastructure capacity density of the current mobile network by an order of magnitude (10x). Projected deployment for this hub base station antenna system is for it to communicate with network of “below-rooftop” access base stations using existing structures. The system strategy with these access base stations will allow self-backhauling.

This multi-beam antenna has 90 degree coverage (a 90 degree arc) utilising six individual narrow beam patterns each with a half power beamwidth of 15 degrees. MIMO capability is provided with ±45 degree polarisation in each of the six 15˚ sectors.

The advantage of this format is that a narrow beam can create high density coverage within a specific narrow area allowing for a high level of frequency re-use whilst being far more efficient that installing 6 separate narrow beam directional antennas. By positioning four multi-beam antennas in a square formation, complete 360 degree coverage is achieved as this provides 24 dual-polarised beams. The current system benefits from meeting ETSI specification for multi-beam antennas (EN 302 326-3 V.1.1.2) provides low side-lobe levels for greater system efficiency.

For security and military applications the technology can be scaled to cover other frequency bands, with applications such as communications to multiple mobile platforms (ground or airborne). This system has the benefit of providing higher gain over a wider angle than a single sector antenna. Communications are more secure and less prone to intercept and jamming than wide beam or omni antennas.

The antenna measures only 586-mm (23”) high x 456-mm (17.95”) wide x 76-mm (3”) deep,