Antenna subset modulation for secure millimeter-wave wireless communication



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The small carrier wavelength at millimeter-wave (mm-Wave) frequencies allows the possibility of implementing a large number of antennas on a single chip. This work uses the potential of large antenna arrays at these frequencies to develop a low-complexity directional modulation technique: Antenna Subset Modulation (ASM) for point-to-point secure wireless communication. The main idea in ASM is to communicate information by modulating the far-field radiation pattern of the array at the symbol rate. By driving only a subset of antennas and changing the subset used for each symbol transmission the far-field pattern is modulated. Two techniques for implementing antenna subset selection are proposed. The first technique is simple where the antenna subset to be used is selected at random for every symbol transmission. While randomly switching antenna subsets does not affect the symbol modulation for a desired receiver along the main lobe direction, it effectively randomizes the amplitude and phase of the received symbol for an eavesdropper along a sidelobe. Using a simplified statistical model for random antenna subset selection, an expression for the average symbol error rate (SER) is derived as a function of observation angle for linear arrays. To overcome the problem of large peak sidelobe level in random antenna subset switching, an optimized antenna subset selection procedure based on simulated annealing is then discussed. Finally, numerical results comparing the average SER performance of the proposed techniques against conventional array transmission are presented. While both methods produce a narrower information beam-width in the desired direction, the optimized antenna subset selection technique is shown to offer better security and array performance.