Beam Acquisition and Training in Millimeter Wave Networks with Narrowband Pilots

Hao Zhou*, Dongning Guo, Michael L. Honig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This paper studies initial beam acquisition in a millimeter wave network consisting of multiple access points (APs) and mobile devices. A training protocol for joint estimation of transmit and receive beams is presented with a general frame structure consisting of an initial access sub-frame followed by data transmission sub-frames. During the initial subframe, APs and mobiles sweep through a set of beams and determine the best transmit and receive beams via a handshake. All pilot signals are narrowband (tones), and the mobiles are distinguished by their assigned pilot frequencies. Both non-coherent and coherent beam estimation methods based on, respectively, power detection and maximum likelihood (ML) are presented. To avoid exchanging information about beamforming vectors between APs and mobiles, a local maximum likelihood (LML) algorithm is also presented. An efficient fast Fourier transform implementation is proposed for ML and LML to achieve high-resolution. A system-level optimization is performed in which the frame length, training time, and training bandwidth are selected to maximize a rate objective taking into account blockage and mobility. Simulation results based on a realistic network topology are presented to compare the performance of different estimation methods and training codebooks, and demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed protocol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8876700
Pages (from-to)2759-2771
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Millimeter wave communication
  • channel estimation
  • initial access
  • narrowband signaling
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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