Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces: A signal processing perspective with wireless applications
Journal article, 2022

Antenna array technology enables the directional transmission and reception of wireless signals for communication, localization, and sensing purposes. The signal processing algorithms that underpin it began to be developed several decades ago [1], but it was with the deployment of 5G wireless mobile networks that the technology became mainstream [2]. The number of antenna elements in the arrays of 5G base stations (BSs) and user devices can be measured on the order of hundreds and tens, respectively. As networks shift toward using higher-frequency bands, more antennas fit into a given aperture. For communication purposes, the arrays are harnessed to form beams in desired directions to improve the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and multiplex data signals in the spatial domain (to one or multiple devices) and to suppress interference by spatial filtering [2]. For localization purposes, these arrays are employed to maintain the SNR when operating across wider bandwidths, for angle-of-arrival estimation, and to separate multiple sources and scatterers [3]. The practical use of these features requires that each antenna array is equipped with well-designed signal processing algorithms.

Signal processing

Wireless networks

Antenna arrays

Signal to noise ratio


Emil Björnson

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Henk Wymeersch

Chalmers, Electrical Engineering, Communication, Antennas and Optical Networks

Bho Matthiesen

Universität Bremen

Petar Popovski

Aalborg University

Luca Sanguinetti

University of Pisa

Elisabeth De Carvalho

Aalborg University

IEEE Signal Processing Magazine

1053-5888 (ISSN) 15580792 (eISSN)

Vol. 39 2 135-158

Reconfigurable Intelligent Sustainable Environments for 6G Wireless Networks

European Commission (EC) (EC/2020/101017011), 2021-01-01 -- 2023-12-31.

Subject Categories


Communication Systems

Signal Processing



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