Photonic Delay Processing with Centralized Etalon Cascade for Radio Beamsteering in Simplified 2×5 Phased-Array Radio Heads
JLT, vol. 40, no. 20, pp. 6929-6938, Oct. 2022
Aina Val Marti, David Löschenbrand, Markus Hofer, Thomas Zemen, and Bernhard Schrenk
The adoption of beam-centric radio communication schemes calls for efficient methods of beamforming with multi-element antennas. We present a delay generation method that employs a shared and centralized cascade of Gires-Tournois etalons for element-by-element radio frequency beamsteering at remote radio heads, thus adding no complexity at the antenna site. We experimentally demonstrate beamsteering of up to 32° in combination with a 2×5 phased-array antenna operated at a radio carrier frequency of 3.5 GHz and transmitting 64-ary quadrature amplitude modulated, orthogonal frequency division modulated radio signals. The radio transmission performance over mobile optical fronthaul and free-space radio propagation is evaluated through offline error vector magnitude estimation and real-time transmission of high-definition video traffic. We further show carrier phase switching at 2 kHz using direct emission frequency modulation of the involved optical light sources, proving the proposed concept to support the fast tracking of mobile users.