Initial Access in Millimeter Wave Cellular Systems

C. Nicolas Barati, S. Amir Hosseini, Marco Mezzavilla, Thanasis Korakis, Shivendra S. Panwar, Sundeep Rangan, Michele Zorzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Millimeter wave (mmWave) bands have attracted considerable recent interest for next-generation cellular systems due to the massive available spectrum at these frequencies. However, a key challenge in designing mmWave cellular systems is initial access - the procedure by which a mobile device establishes an initial link-layer connection to a cell. MmWave communication relies on highly directional transmissions and the initial access procedure must thus provide a mechanism by which initial transmission directions can be searched in a potentially large angular space. Design options are compared considering different scanning and signaling procedures to evaluate access delay and system overhead. The channel structure and multiple access issues are also considered. The results of our analysis demonstrate significant benefits of low-resolution fully digital architectures in comparison with single stream analog beamforming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7567506
Pages (from-to)7926-7940
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2016


  • 5G
  • Millimeter wave radio
  • beamforming
  • cellular systems
  • directional cell discovery
  • initial access
  • random access
  • synchronization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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