The graduate student making waves in the world of 6G wireless communications

Shihao Ju

Shihao Ju, Ph.D. student in Electrical and Computer Engineering

A layperson might not fully understand the title of Shihao Ju’s latest paper, “Millimeter Wave and Sub-Terahertz Spatial Statistical Channel Model for an Indoor Office Building,” (published in the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications Special Issue on Terahertz Communications and Networking), but it’s easy to understand the promise his work holds for the development of 6G wireless communications and the drive and determination that propelled him to NYU Tandon. 

Learn more about him, in his own words, below.


Why did you choose NYU Tandon?

The most important factor is that Tandon is home to the NYU WIRELESS research center, which is known all over the world. Professor Ted Rappaport, who launched the center in 2012, is among the most highly respected figures in the field. He is the author of the paper “Millimeter Wave Mobile Communications for 5G Cellular: It Will Work,” which pioneered the idea of tapping the underutilized spectrum between 30 to 300 Gigahertz for 5G radio and beyond, at a time when few other experts were even considering the possibility.

I admired him so much as a scientific pioneer that I wrote to him, and he encouraged me to apply to Tandon. I am very grateful to have been accepted and to now be working with him at NYU WIRELESS.

Additionally, I was attracted by the academic atmosphere in the U.S. and the possibility for achievement here; that made me eager to come further my research career.


Aside from Professor Rappaport, who else has helped set the course of your research?

I earned my undergraduate degree in Electrical and Information Engineering from the Harbin Institute of Technology, where I studied with Professor Wei-Xiao Meng, who is very involved in broadband wireless communications and networking, wireless localization technologies, and other related areas. He was the one who initially sparked my deep interest in the field. We still stay in touch and often meet at international conferences and wireless events.


Can you explain the significance of your recent paper?

My most recent paper was written in collaboration with fellow graduate students Yunchou Xing and Ojas Kanhere, under the direction of Professor Rappaport. In it, we discuss the fact that sixth-generation (6G) wireless systems will need to offer unprecedented high data rate and system throughput, which can be achieved in part by deploying systems transmitting and receiving at millimeter-wave (mmWave) and Terahertz (THz) frequencies (30 GHz - 3 THz). These regions of the electromagnetic spectrum are capable of massive data throughput at near zero latency, which is key to future data traffic demand created by wireless applications like augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), autonomous driving, and remote medicine.

Importantly, the linchpin for the successful deployment of mmWave and THz systems for 6G wireless communications will be their performance in indoor scenarios, so accurate THz channel characterization for indoor environments is essential in designing transceivers, air interface, and protocols for 6G, and even beyond. We propose a unified indoor channel model across mmWave and sub-THz bands based on our measurements, and we hope this can serve as a reference for future standards development above 100 GHz.


What is your next step?

I am planning to conduct channel measurements at mmWave and sub-THz frequencies in indoor factories. Factories in the manufacturing industry are becoming the hottest and most significant application scenario for 5G and beyond. With advanced wireless technologies, smart factories will be enabled to reduce the cost and dramatically improve productivity. It is essential to understand how the mmWave and sub-THz signals propagate in such environment.


Do you have any advice for students considering graduate school?

It’s a big decision to do a master’s degree, and an even bigger one for a PhD! But ask yourself how many times in your life you’ll have an opportunity to take this deep a dive into a subject that interests you. Don’t rush. Focus on the course work first. See if there is a problem that you’re determined to solve or a field in which you want to make your mark. Then you should grab that opportunity.