Millimeter wave wearable networks

MmWave for wearable electronics network

Wearable communication networks connect different devices in and around the human body including low-rate devices like pedometers and high-rate devices like augmented-reality glasses. The potential of millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies for device-to-device communication among wearable electronics is enormous for applications requiring Gbps throughput. Such networks might use wireless standards like IEEE 802.11ad or WirelessHD, based on which, commercial products are already available.

Resent Results

In our group, we characterized the performance of mmWave wearable networks in a scenario where many devices may be operating within close proximity such as inside a train car. We focused on mmWave networks that are confined to a limited region and contain a finite number of interferers at fixed locations. We developed an approach for calculating coverage and rate in such a network treating human bodies as the main source of blockage and characterized performance based on antenna parameters. We showed that having larger antenna arrays which enable directed transmission and reception helps achieving high throughputs. It was also observed that using omni-directional antennas, which may feature in low-end gadgets, can also support near-Gbps throughput. Further, our analyses show that the effect of antenna orientation is more profound for users located near the network corner rather than for users at the center of the network.

We modeled the impact of wall and ceiling reflections when operating wearable networks in a crowded indoor scenario. We developed a tractable model to capture the impact of user location and orientation of the user’s body. This characterized the key concept of self-body blockage wherein an interferer’s and/or reference user’s own body blocks the line of sight (LOS) path of the interference signal and the spatial non-isotropy of the signal-to-interference ratio average performance.


Kiran Venugopal, M. C. Valenti, and R. W. Heath, Jr., “Interference in finite-sized highly dense millimeter wave networks,” in Proc. Information Theory and Applications (ITA) San Diego, CA, Feb. 2015. Video of the presentation.

Kiran Venugopal, M. C. Valenti, and R. W. Heath, Jr., “Device-to-Device Millimeter Wave Communications: Interference, Coverage, Rate, and Finite Topologies,” to appear in IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, accepted on May 27, 2016. Pre-print available at arXiv: 1506.07158v1 [cs.IT], 23 June 2015.

Kiran Venugopal, M. C. Valenti, and R. W. Heath, Jr., “Analysis of Millimeter-Wave Networked Wearables in Crowded Environment,” in Proc. of Asilomar Conf. on Signals, Systems, and Computers, Nov. 2015. Video of the presentation.

Kiran Venugopal and R. W. Heath, Jr., “Location Based Performance Model for Indoor mmWave Wearable Communication,” in Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. on Commun. (ICC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, May 2016.

Kiran Venugopal and R. W. Heath, Jr., “Millimeter Wave Networked Wearables in Dense Indoor Environments,” in IEEE Access, vol. 4, pp. 1205-1221, 2016. doi: 10.1109/ACCESS.2016.2542478.


This work was funded in part by the Intel-Verizon 5G research program and the National Science Foundation under Grant No. NSF-CCF-1319556.

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