What is Holographic Beam Forming®?
Holographic Beam Forming (HBF) enables wireless service providers to continuously reuse the same band of spectrum, at the same time, within a given spatial region. Like several narrow, high-intensity spotlights illuminating discrete objects in a theater, beamforming antennas can focus their radiated energy on separate targets without illuminating adjacent users. Unlike current cellular systems that utilize antennas that form 60-90 degree stationary sector beams, narrow beamforming permits a more focused communications protocol between base station and user. This technique preserves the spectral hygiene of the sector and allows for multiple concurrent transmissions using the same frequency without interference, thus allowing for abundant spectrum reuse with higher intensity signals delivered to both stationary and mobile users.
Beamforming with antennas is not a new technique. Phased array antennas have been used for nearly 70 years in the military domain to great effect. More recently, MIMO antenna techniques are being explored for digital beamforming. However, such technologies are impossibly expensive for commercial use. The cost of array elements drives the system cost for any beamforming array. MIMO arrays require a full DSP radio behind every element. Phased arrays require a phase shifter and power amplifier for every element. These approaches are costly, power hungry and drive toward unattractive, bulky form factors.
HBF requires only a single, simple, biased control component like a varactor or transistor at each element. This leads to a cost advantage of over 50x against MIMO or Phased Arrays. The elegant holographic method transforms an incoming RF signal into a dynamic, rapidly steerable beam by manipulating the bias state of the control components.
Customized Antennas and Software from 1 GHz to 70 GHz
Pivotal can provide customized antenna systems between 1 GHz and 70 GHz through the use of rapid fabrication cycles. Additionally, Pivotal can create and customize software for its clients to control and manage a network of HBF links using its intelligent Beam Management System (IBMS). Pivotal refers to these beamformers as Platforms whose simplicity of design and low-cost, readily available components enable rapid fabrication using mature printed circuit board techniques as opposed to customer silicon, for example. At mmWave frequencies, in particular, HBF antennas are approximately half the cost, size and weight of leading phased array antennas. HBF offers even greater savings over phased arrays in power consumption. Mobile operators acknowledge that C-SWaP is an important consideration in denser 5G networks that occupy street furniture where the public can see them.