Design and analysis of transmit beamforming for millimeter wave base station discovery

Chunshan Liu*, Min Li, Iain B. Collings, Stephen V. Hanly, Philip Whiting

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we develop an analytical framework for the initial access (also known as base station (BS) discovery) in a millimeter-wave communication system and propose an effective strategy for transmitting the reference signals (RSs) used for BS discovery. Specifically, by formulating the problem of BS discovery at user equipments (UEs) as hypothesis tests, we derive a detector based on the generalized likelihood ratio test and characterize the statistical behavior of the detector. The theoretical results obtained allow analysis of the impact of key system parameters on the performance of BS discovery, and show that RS transmission with narrow beams may not be helpful in improving the overall BS discovery performance due to the cost of spatial scanning. Using the method of large deviations, we identify the desirable beam pattern that minimizes the average miss-discovery probability of UEs within a targeted detectable region. We then propose to transmit the RS with sequential scanning, using a pre-designed codebook with narrow and/or wide beams to approximate the desirable patterns. The proposed design allows flexible choices of the codebook sizes and the associated beam widths to better approximate the desirable patterns. Numerical results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-811
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • beamforming
  • initial access
  • large deviation principle
  • millimetre wave
  • synchronisation


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