Current Challenges in MIMO Antenna Designs

A good percentage of new wireless networks today are using the technology that helped in the design and implementation of MIMO antennas. MIMO stands for Multiple-In-Multiple-Out, and this technology is offering the promise of elevating your device’s wireless performance.

But the thing is, every implemented system comes with their own share of positive and negative aspects.

With every modern wireless communication system, we have today, the major area of concern would always have something to do with the surge on the demand for channel bandwidth and high data rate.

The vast majority of applications for wireless communication systems are undergoing a quick shift towards MIMO technology from SISO or single input and single output and single input multiple output systems or SIMO. This induces a spike on the demand for multiple antenna integration in a user’s equipment.

What has attracted the attention and interest of many researchers to improve bandwidth, channel capacity, polarization diversity, gain, and reduction of coupling between elements is MIMO antenna development and the evaluation of its performance for a wide range of wireless communication terminals.

Such systems are also requiring a multiple-element antenna or MEA to be minimized. This way it can become fittingly suited in the robust and compact user equipment, supporting multi-band operation for the reusability of the equipment in many different regions of the world.

When it comes to conceiving ideas for novel antenna systems and development, antenna systems designers have enough vacuum for new generation networks. This can be realized by making necessary improvements in the multiband resonance and impedance bandwidth.

Besides, enhancing the radiation pattern diversity will help in lowering the correlation coefficient and thus will hopefully make a great improvement in the MIMO antennas performance

Various designers made significant proposals involving the use of different techniques in designing new antennas at the microwave band range of interest, where the main focus of the research is to improve the channel capacity by pulling down the correlation coefficient and increase the isolation among multi-element antennas.  

Another key challenge for portable devices is the size. We would never need a MIMO portable device that comes with a diameter of 13 inches. It is safe to say then that there are several pitfalls and trade-offs. Well, known MIMO antenna configurations implemented in smartphones are MIMO cube elements, composite frame antennas, or planar inverted F’s. There may be a need to jump through many hoops just so we could make these elements get working. 

The major challenge for MIMO is making these elements act as separate and independent antennas. The spacing must be made close together to make them work together as if they are one and a single entity.

In an effort to segregate the MIMO elements and by the end of it achieve significant increases in data rate, exotic techniques that involve neutralizing and phasing may be attempted or employed.  

MIMO technology holds the promise of delivering outstanding improvements in the area of data transmission’s speed. In the future, we can anticipate witnessing several antenna scheme innovations to make up for the perceived pitfalls.

Right this very moment, access points are available with MIMO transmission streams. Deployed portable devices come with 2-3 MIMO streams. As we further push for greater speeds, there is no way for us to tell where this technology will be taking us to. Innovative antenna designs are likely going to tip the scales, along with the knowledge of the basics of antenna technology of a system designer, for an even more successful MIMO deployment.