Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2017

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Mudumbai, Raghu

Second Advisor

Dasgupta, Soura

First Committee Member

Kruger, Anton

Second Committee Member

Bai, Er-Wei

Third Committee Member

Pendergrass, Nixon


A Distributed Multi-Input Multi-Output (DMIMO) system consists of many transceivers coordinating themselves into a "virtual antenna array" in order to emulate MIMO capabilities. In recent years, the field of research investigating DMIMO Communications has grown substantially. DMIMO systems offer all of the same benefits of standard MIMO systems on a larger scale because arrays are not limited by the physical constraint of placing many antennas on a single transceiver. This additional benefit does come at a cost, however. Since nodes are distributed and run from independent clock signals and with unknown geometry, each one must its own obtain channel state information (CSI) to the target nodes. In existing DMIMO architectures, array nodes depend on feedback from target nodes to properly synchronize. This means that target nodes must be cooperative and are responsible for the overhead calculating and transmitting CSI feedback to each node in the array.

Within this work, we develop a set of techniques for Retrodirective Distributed Antenna Arrays. Retrodirective arrays have traditionally been used to direct a beam towards a target node, but the work in this thesis seeks to develop a more generalized definition of retrodirectivity. By our definition, a retrodirective array is one that acquires CSI to one or more intended targets simply by listening to the incoming transmissions of those targets; the array may subsequently use this information to do any number of typical MIMO tasks (i.e., beamforming, nullforming, spatial multiplexing, etc.). We explore two primary techniques: i) distributed beamforming and ii) distributed nullforming. Beamforming involves focusing transmitted power towards a specific target node and nullforming involves directing transmissions of array nodes to cancel one another at a specific target node. We focus on these techniques because they can be thought of as basic building blocks for more sophisticated DMIMO techniques.

We first develop the theory for retrodirective arrays. Then, we present an architecture for the implementation of this theory. Specifically, we focus on the pre-synchronization of the array, which involves use of a master/slave architecture and a timeslotted message exchange among the array nodes. Finally, developing algorithms to make these arrays both robust and scalable is the focus of this thesis.


Beamforming, Distributed MIMO, Nullforming, Retrodirective Distributed Arrays, Virtual Antenna Arrays


xiv, 82 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 79-82).


Copyright © 2017 Benjamin Michael Peiffer