End-to-End Simulation of 5G mmWave Networks

Marco Mezzavilla, Menglei Zhang, Michele Polese, Russell Ford, Sourjya Dutta, Sundeep Rangan, Michele Zorzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Due to its potential for multi-gigabit and low latency wireless links, millimeter wave (mmWave) technology is expected to play a central role in 5th generation (5G) cellular systems. While there has been considerable progress in understanding the mmWave physical layer, innovations will be required at all layers of the protocol stack, in both the access and the core network. Discrete-event network simulation is essential for end-to-end, cross-layer research and development. This paper provides a tutorial on a recently developed full-stack mmWave module integrated into the widely used open-source ns–3 simulator. The module includes a number of detailed statistical channel models as well as the ability to incorporate real measurements or ray-tracing data. The Physical (PHY) and Medium Access Control (MAC) layers are modular and highly customizable, making it easy to integrate algorithms or compare Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) numerologies, for example. The module is interfaced with the core network of the ns–3 Long Term Evolution (LTE) module for full-stack simulations of end-to-end connectivity, and advanced architectural features, such as dual-connectivity, are also available. To facilitate the understanding of the module, and verify its correct functioning, we provide several examples that show the performance of the custom mmWave stack as well as custom congestion control algorithms designed specifically for efficient utilization of the mmWave channel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials
StateAccepted/In press - Apr 19 2018



  • 3GPP
  • 5G
  • 5G mobile communication
  • Antenna arrays
  • Cellular
  • Channel
  • handover
  • Long Term Evolution
  • MAC
  • Millimeter wave technology
  • mmWave
  • multi-connectivity
  • ns–3.
  • PHY
  • Propagation
  • Protocols
  • simulation
  • Tutorials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Cite this

Mezzavilla, M., Zhang, M., Polese, M., Ford, R., Dutta, S., Rangan, S., & Zorzi, M. (Accepted/In press). End-to-End Simulation of 5G mmWave Networks. IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials. https://doi.org/10.1109/COMST.2018.2828880