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What are the types of beamforming in MIMO?

In MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) systems, beamforming is a technique that plays a pivotal role in enhancing communication performance by manipulating the directionality of transmitted or received signals. Beamforming can be broadly categorized into two main types: transmit beamforming and receive beamforming. Let’s delve into the detailed explanation of these types and explore their variations:

1. Transmit Beamforming:

  • Description:
    • Transmit beamforming involves adjusting the phase and amplitude of signals at the transmitter to create constructive interference in the desired direction.
  • Types:
    • 1.1 Explicit Transmit Beamforming (ETBF):
      • ETBF requires explicit channel state information (CSI) feedback from the receiver (UE) to the transmitter (eNodeB).
      • The transmitter adjusts the signal based on the received CSI, optimizing the transmission for the current channel conditions.
    • 1.2 Codebook-Based Transmit Beamforming:
      • Codebook-based techniques use predefined beamforming vectors or matrices.
      • The transmitter selects a beamforming vector from the codebook based on channel conditions without explicit feedback.

2. Receive Beamforming:

  • Description:
    • Receive beamforming involves adjusting the phase and amplitude of signals at the receiver to enhance the reception of signals from a specific direction.
  • Types:
    • 2.1 Maximum Ratio Combining (MRC):
      • MRC is a basic receive beamforming technique that combines signals from multiple antennas with different weights.
      • The weights are adjusted to maximize the signal power, improving the overall received signal quality.
    • 2.2 Zero Forcing (ZF):
      • ZF receive beamforming aims to nullify interference from unwanted directions.
      • It achieves interference cancellation by adjusting the weights to create nulls in the direction of interference sources.
    • 2.3 Minimum Mean Square Error (MMSE):
      • MMSE receive beamforming minimizes the mean square error between the received signal and the desired signal.
      • It considers both the desired signal and interference, optimizing the weights to improve signal quality.

3. Hybrid Beamforming:

  • Description:
    • Hybrid beamforming combines elements of both transmit and receive beamforming.
  • Types:
    • 3.1 Analog Beamforming:
      • Analog beamforming is applied in the RF (radio frequency) domain using analog components like phase shifters and attenuators.
      • It controls the direction of the beam before the signal reaches the digital baseband processing.
    • 3.2 Digital Beamforming:
      • Digital beamforming is applied in the digital domain after the analog-to-digital conversion.
      • It fine-tunes the beamforming based on the digital representation of the signal.

4. Joint Transmission and Reception Beamforming:

  • Description:
    • Joint beamforming optimizes the transmission and reception beams simultaneously to enhance overall communication performance.
  • Types:
    • 4.1 Closed-Loop MIMO:
      • Closed-loop MIMO involves feedback mechanisms where the receiver provides information to the transmitter about channel conditions.
      • The transmitter adjusts the beamforming based on the received feedback.
    • 4.2 Open-Loop MIMO:
      • Open-loop MIMO does not rely on explicit feedback from the receiver.
      • The transmitter determines the beamforming weights without feedback, which can be suitable for scenarios with limited feedback capability.


Beamforming in MIMO systems is a versatile technique that can significantly improve the performance and efficiency of wireless communication. Transmit and receive beamforming, hybrid beamforming, and joint transmission and reception beamforming each offer unique advantages and are applicable in different scenarios. By intelligently manipulating the directionality of signals, beamforming enables MIMO systems to achieve higher data rates, better coverage, and improved reliability in various wireless communication environments.

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