Beamforming vs. MIMO antennas
by Chuck Powell, RFS Meriden
MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) antennas operate by breaking high data rate signals into multiple lower data rate signals in Tx mode that are recombined at the receiver. Beamforming arrays are inherently different from MIMO in that the multiple columns of dipoles work together to create a single high gain signal. While both techniques work well, an antenna optimized for one method, does not work well for the other. Compromise geometries exist, but the user is sacrificing the performance of the system in order to save money on the relatively inexpensive antenna.
RFS’ white paper discusses the architectural differences between an antenna that has been designed for MIMO performance and one that has been optimized for beamforming. It will explain why antenna characteristics that are desirable for MIMO will result in a degradation of the beamforming ability of the antenna.
The paper will also talk about the differences of beamforming antennas that are used in active and passive systems.