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A Beam-Steering Reconfigurable Antenna for WLAN Applications


A multifunctional reconfigurable antenna (MRA) capable of operating in nine modes corresponding to nine steerable beam directions in the semisphere space {-30°,0°, 30°} φ in {0°, 45°, 90°, 135°) is presented. The MRA consists of an aperture-coupled driven patch antenna with a parasitic layer placed above it. The surface of the parasitic layer has a grid of 3 ×, 3 electrically-small square-shaped metallic pixels. The adjacent pixels are connected by PIN diode switches with ON/OFF status to change the geometry of the parasitic surface, which in turn changes the current distribution on the antenna, thus provides reconfigurability in beam steering direction. The MRA operates in the IEEE 802.11 frequency band (2.4-2.5 GHz) in each mode of operation. The antenna has been fabricated and measured. The measured and simulated impedance and radiation pattern results agree well indicating an average of ∼ 6.5 dB realized gain in all modes of operation. System level experimental performance evaluations have also been performed, where an MRA equipped WLAN platform was tested and characterized in typical indoor environments. The results confirm that the MRA equipped WLAN systems could achieve an average of 6 dB Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) gain compared to legacy omni-directional antenna equipped systems with minimal training overhead.

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