Low cost smart antennas for mesh networks
Notes: Collaboration with Hungarian researchers (USZ) is on the way.
Smart antenna is an antenna that is capable of adapting its properties to satisfy particular goal(s). The goals may for example include radiation pattern shaping (beamforming/beamswitching). The beamforming provides spatial (directional) selectivity and permits to enhance gain in a desired direction and also to lower the influence of a source of interference.
The capacity of a mesh network can be improved substantially if smart antennas are employed. The smartness of such antennas comes from the intelligent algorithms controlling antenna. The intelligence may include using the ability to steer the beam in order to enhance the node discovery and node self-healing. Beamforming and beam-switching antennas which are integrated with routing protocols is a new areas of research.
Replacement for Omnidirectional Antenna
This antenna would have a low to intermediate gain due to practical difficulties to obtain both 360 degrees beam steering and high gain at the same time.
A good candidate for such an antenna in terms of cost is a parasitic array antenna (e.g. ESPAR).
Directions: 1. Basic control and monitoring tools. 2. Control of radiation pattern via a separate interface by-passing MAC TCP etc. 3. More intellegent integration with MAC layer. 4. Ability to do direction-of-arrieval (DOA) finding. 5. Further integration with MAC layer.
The topics 3 and 5 are the most complex.