Viability of Numerical Full-Wave Techniques in Telecommunication Channel Modelling

Roman Novak


In telecommunication channel modelling the wavelength is small compared to the physical features of interest, therefore deterministic ray tracing techniques provide solutions that are more efficient, faster and still within time constraints than current numerical full-wave techniques. Solving fundamental Maxwell's equations is at the core of computational electrodynamics and best suited for modelling electrical field interactions with physical objects where characteristic dimensions of a computing domain is on the order of a few wavelengths in size. However, extreme communication speeds, wireless access points closer to the user and smaller pico and femto cells will require increased accuracy in predicting and planning wireless signals, testing the accuracy limits of the ray tracing methods. The increased computing capabilities and the demand for better characterization of communication channels that span smaller geographical areas make numerical full-wave techniques attractive alternative even for larger problems. The paper surveys ways of overcoming excessive time requirements of numerical full-wave techniques while providing acceptable channel modelling accuracy for the smallest radio cells and possibly wider. We identify several research paths that could lead to improved channel modelling, including numerical algorithm adaptations for large-scale problems, alternative finite-difference approaches, such as meshless methods, and dedicated parallel hardware, possibly as a realization of a dataflow machine.


radio wave propagation, far-field computation, signal prediction, full wave methods, numerical methods

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