From the site visits in Europe and Japan and interactions with U.S. companies, it appears that the major requirements for future wireless systems are higher data rates with better coverage to a large number of users at a reasonable cost. To obtain these goals, higher signal-to-noise ratios (more power), interference suppression, and multipath mitigation is needed. The smart antenna was universally recognized as a critical component in meeting these requirements, but much research still needs to be done, as evidenced by the fact that nearly all sites visited have a significant research effort in smart antennas. Research efforts are about equally divided between the two types of smart antennas (phased arrays and adaptive arrays), although the emphasis varies among companies.
The WTEC study concludes that the major research issues for smart antennas are the following:
Of these, interdisciplinary research incorporating smart antennas was considered to be the key to the greatest gains, but very little of this type of research is currently being conducted because of the difficulty of the required interactions.
For future wireless systems to be viable, substantial research on smart antennas in the above areas will be required, with emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches.