Study on 3GPP Rural Macrocell Path Loss Models for Millimeter Wave Wireless Communications

George R. MacCartney, Theodore S. Rappaport

Little research has been done to reliably model millimeter wave (mmWave) path loss in rural macrocell settings, yet, models have been hastily adopted without substantial empirical evidence. This paper studies past rural macrocell (RMa) path loss models and exposes concerns with the current 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) TR 38.900 (Release 14) RMa path loss models adopted from the International Telecommunications Union - Radiocommunications (ITU-R) Sector. This paper shows how the 3GPP RMa large-scale path loss models were derived for frequencies below 6 GHz, yet they are being asserted for use up to 30 GHz, even though there has not been sufficient work or published data to support their validity at frequencies above 6 GHz or in the mmWave bands. We present the background of the 3GPP RMa path loss models and their use of odd correction factors not suitable for rural scenarios, and show that the multi-frequency close-in free space reference distance (CI) path loss model is more accurate and reliable than current 3GPP and ITU-R RMa models. Using field data and simulations, we introduce a new close-in free space reference distance with height dependent path loss exponent model (CIH), that predicts rural macrocell path loss using an effective path loss exponent that is a function of base station antenna height. This work shows the CI and CIH models can be used from 500 MHz to 100 GHz for rural mmWave coverage and interference analysis, without any discontinuity at 6 GHz as exists in today's 3GPP and ITU-R RMa models.

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