Elevation Beamforming with Full Dimension MIMO Architectures in 5G Systems: A Tutorial

Qurrat Ul Ain Nadeem, Abla Kammoun, Mohamed Slim Alouini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Full dimension (FD) multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology has attracted substantial research attention from both wireless industry and academia in the last few years as a promising technique for next-generation wireless communication networks. FD-MIMO scenarios utilize a planar 2-D active antenna system (AAS) that not only allows a large number of antenna elements to be placed within feasible base station (BS) form factors, but also provides the ability of adaptive electronic beam control over both the elevation and the traditional azimuth dimensions. This paper presents a tutorial on elevation beamforming analysis for cellular networks utilizing FD massive MIMO antenna arrays. In contrast to existing works that focus on the standardization of FD-MIMO in the 3rd generation partnership project (3GPP), this tutorial is distinguished by its depth with respect to the theoretical aspects of antenna array and 3-D channel modeling. In an attempt to bridge the gap between industry and academia, this preliminary tutorial introduces the relevant array and transceiver architecture designs proposed in the 3GPP Release 13 that enable elevation beamforming. Then it presents and compares two different 3-D channel modeling approaches that can be utilized for the performance analysis of elevation beamforming techniques. The spatial correlation in FD-MIMO arrays is characterized and compared based on both channel modeling approaches and some insights into the impact of different channel and array parameters on the correlation are drawn. All these aspects are put together to provide a mathematical framework for the design of elevation beamforming schemes in single-cell and multi-cell scenarios. Simulation examples associated with comparisons and discussions are also presented. To this end, this paper highlights the state-of-the-art research and points out future research directions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8770245
Pages (from-to)3238-3273
Number of pages36
JournalIEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • active antenna system (AAS)
  • channel modeling
  • correlation
  • elevation beamforming
  • Full dimension (FD) multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO)
  • massive MIMO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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