IRANATA - Interference and RAdiation in Network PlAnning of 5G AcTive Antenna Systems

Founding Source: Service des médias et des communications (SMC)
Prime Contractor: SnT
Principal InvestigatorProf. Symeon Chatzinotas
ResearchersDr. Nicola Maturo (VPI), Prof. Holger VoosProf. Miguel Olivares MendezDr. Jose Luis Sanchez LopezDr. Carol Martinez-LunaDr. Shree Krishna Sharma


Project Description:

One of the most important technological enablers within the 5G suite is the Active Antenna System (AAS), which allows for the dynamic creation of multiple beams along both azimuth and elevation ranges. This feature is crucial for high-throughput mobile broadband services (emBB), as it can a) accurately focus the signal towards the user terminal, b) discriminate and serve multiple terminals within a single time-frequency block. In this context, AAS were prioritized in the 3GPP standardization process and there are already commercial products in the C-band that will support the first wave of 5G deployment. 

Nevertheless, the timely AAS deployment currently struggles with multiple obstacles that require urgent industrial research, namely a) intra- and inter-system interference, b) 3D coverage mapping, c) radiation limits framework. More specifically, the two first items are critical for network planning, since the Network Operators (NOs) need to evaluate the AAS interference impact a) on out-of-band emissions in relation to adjacent 5G, radar, satellite systems, b) on in-band emissions towards adjacent sites that reuse the same carrier frequency, c)  in relation to the provided 3D beamforming flexibility. Furthermore, the regulatory framework in terms of emission limits for AAS is not yet finalized, since the current methodology is not straightforwardly extendable to systems with dynamic radiation patterns. In parallel, there are recognized concerns by the general public about the electromagnetic radiation impact of directive beams to human health. 

IRANATA aims to take concrete steps towards resolving these issues through an industrial research approach which combines software simulations, lab pilots and field measurements of production-level 5G AAS and smart phones over the UniLu Kirchberg campus (pioneering zone). The measurement campaign will be facilitated by drone missions which are able to efficiently produce a 3D characterization of the radiation pattern.  

In this direction, IRANATA is led by SnT, University of Luxembourg and empowered by two Luxembourg-based NOs (PROXIMUS and POST) as subcontractors. The final goal is to acquire and disseminate new knowledge about AAS towards the relevant stakeholders, namely NOs, policy regulations (spectrum, environment), scientific community and wider public.

The main objectives and time-bound measurable milestones of IRANATA are to:

  • Characterize the out of band emissions and inter-cell interference level of the 5G Active Antenna System (AAS) 
  • Define a methodology based on drone missions and characterize the 3D network coverage map in a 5G AAS network. Evaluate the impact on network planning e.g. site location, Active Antenna (AA) configuration.
  • Define a methodology and measure the electromagnetic emission levels of AAS at the user terminal side. Compare with the emission levels of conventional 4G antenna systems. 
  • Disseminate results in the scientific community and provide input to stakeholders. Propose new Key Performance indicators (KPIs) adjusted to the AAS operation.


Figure 1: Illustration of the Uplink Inter-Cell interference measurement scheme



Figure 2: Illustration of the radiation level measurement scheme at UT side



Figure 3: Illustration of the in-lab network topology



Figure 4: Examples of in-lab and field drone tests carried out by SnT


Project Leader:

  • SnT, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg

Founding Source: Service des médias et des communications (SMC) – 5G National Program

Project Start Date: 15/1/2021

Project End Date: 14/1/2023

Project Team:

Project ManagerProf. Symeon Chatzinotas

Research Team:

Relevant Links:

  • 5G-Sky
  • MICRO-5G