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Different Types of Beamforming

Beamforming is a signal processing technique found in sensor arrays to help with direction transmissions or receptions. It works by combining certain elements in an array so that certain signals experience constructive interference while others experience destructive interference. This creates a sense of spatial selectivity during transmissions and receptions. Here are some different types of this technique.


Electromagnetic Techniques

One type of beamforming that is common relies on electromagnetic radiation. To change an array’s directionality, a beamformer is used to control the phase and amplitude of the signal at each transmitter, creating the appropriate constructive or destructive interference. When receiving signals, the same device combines information from different sensors to help scientists observe the preferred direction.

Sonar Beamforming

Sonar beamforming uses similar techniques to its electromagnetic counterpart, but the implementation details are different. Sonar applications can handle anywhere from one Hz to two MHz, and the arrays themselves can range from a few large antennas to hundreds of minute antennas. This means the beamforming technology required for sonar applications ranges drastically as each system is unique. Additionally, this technology can place significant strains on processing equipment.

Delay and Sum Beamforming

The delay and sum technology is one technique that uses multiple microphones to localize sound sources. One disadvantage of this technology is that any changes made to one of the microphones can unpredictably alter the processed results. Additionally, it is challenging to compute the best setup for a situation due to the potential outcomes. Typically, this requires the use of a genetic algorithm. These algorithms will search for the best microphone configuration to get the highest signal-to-noise ratio for each steered orientation. Fortunately, when used properly, these algorithms can help researchers find the best configuration relatively quickly.

Cell Phone Technology

Beamforming techniques are used in wireless communication. In other words, this is the technology that gives you data and cell service. 2G service is available anytime elementary beamforming technology is available. However, this has typically been replaced with array beamforming technology that provides 3G service. You can find closed-loop and multi-dimensional beamforming technology in some places, which provides 4G and 5G services. This gives you the enhanced data usage and communication services.

Beamforming is a signal processing technique found in sensor arrays that uses constructive and destructive interference to create directional selectivity during transmissions and receptions. There are many different types of beamforming, including electromagnetic, sonar, delay and sum, and the types used in wireless communication.

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