Frame Structure Design and Analysis for Millimeter Wave Cellular Systems

Sourjya Dutta, Marco Mezzavilla, Russell Ford, Menglei Zhang, Sundeep Rangan, Michele Zorzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequencies have attracted considerable attention for fifth generation (5G) cellular communication as they offer orders of magnitude greater bandwidth than current systems. However, the medium access control (MAC) layer may need to be significantly redesigned to support the highly directional transmissions, and the demand for ultra-low latencies and high peak rates expected in mmWave communication. To address these challenges, we present a novel mmWave MAC layer frame structure with a number of enhancements, including flexible, highly granular transmission times, dynamic control signal locations, extended messaging, and the ability to efficiently multiplex directional control signals. Analytic formulas are derived for the utilization and control overhead as a function of control periodicity, number of users, traffic statistics, signal-to-noise ratio, and antenna gains. Importantly, the analysis can incorporate various front-end MIMO capability assumptions - a critical feature of mmWave. Under realistic system and traffic assumptions, the analysis reveals that the proposed flexible frame structure design offers significant benefits over designs with fixed frame structures similar to current 4G long-term evolution. It is also shown that the fully digital beamforming architectures offer significantly lower overhead compared with analog and hybrid beamforming under equivalent power budgets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7805314
Pages (from-to)1508-1522
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2017


  • 5G cellular systems
  • control overhead
  • frame structure
  • millimeter wave
  • radio resource utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Frame Structure Design and Analysis for Millimeter Wave Cellular Systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this