A 28-GHz, Multi-Beam, Decentralized Relay Array

S. Nooshabadi, P.P. Khial, A. Fikes, A. Hajimiri

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Multi-beam relays can be used to overcome the non-line-of-sight (NLOS) issues in millimeter-wave (mm-wave) communication networks that serve many users in an obstruction-rich environment. We demonstrate a modular multi-beam relay array at 28 GHz, which is scalable and fully decentralized. The individual branches of the array are independent and do not need to share a timing reference or be physically located on the same substrate. Multi-beam capability is facilitated by a multi-channel baseband signal conditioning chain that includes a reconfigurable, passive, inductorless, 3rd-order N-path filter with programmable frequency-independent phase shift. This baseband signal conditioning chain enables beams concurrently multiplexed in spatial and frequency domains. We present the theory, design, and operation of the custom RFIC, which enables independent multi-beam relaying. Multiple RFICs are used to create relay arrays. A four-element relay array demonstrates three independently steered beams that utilize the full array aperture with a total wireless throughput of 625 Mb/s.