Millimeter-wave (mmWave) technologies represent a cornerstone for emerging wireless network infrastructure, and for RF sensing systems in security, health, and automotive domains. Through a MIMO array of phased arrays with hundreds of antenna elements, mmWave can boost wireless bit-rates to 100+ Gbps, and potentially achieve near-vision sensing resolution. However, the lack of an experimental platform has been impeding research in this field. This paper fills the gap with M3 (M-Cube), the first mmWave massive MIMO software radio. M3 features a fully reconfigurable array of phased arrays, with up to 8 RF chains and 256 antenna elements. Despite the orders of magnitude larger antenna arrays, its cost is orders of magnitude lower, even when compared with state-ofthe-art single RF chain mmWave software radios. The key design principle behind M3 is to hijack a low-cost commodity 802.11ad radio, separate the control path and data path inside, regenerate the phased array control signals, and recreate the data signals using a programmable baseband. Extensive experiments have demonstrated the effectiveness of the M3 design, and its usefulness for research in mmWave massive MIMO communication and sensing.
Best Paper Award, 2 out of 384 submissions