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Reconfigurable Intelligent Surfaces Three Myths and Two Critical Questions

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Document pages: 7 pages

Abstract: The search for physical-layer technologies that can play a key role inbeyond-5G systems has started. One option is reconfigurable intelligentsurfaces (RIS), which can collect wireless signals from a transmitter andpassively beamform them towards the receiver. The technology has excitingprospects and is quickly gaining traction in the communication community, butin the current hype we have witnessed how several myths and overstatements arespreading in the literature. In this article, we take a neutral look at the RIStechnology. We first review the fundamentals and then explain specific featuresthat can be easily misinterpreted. In particular, we debunk three myths: 1)Current network technology can only control the transmitter and receiver, notthe environment in between; 2) A better asymptotic array gain is achieved thanwith conventional beamforming; 3) The pathloss is the same as with anomalousmirrors. To inspire further research, we conclude by identifying two criticalquestions that must be answered for RIS to become a successful technology: 1)What is a convincing use case for RIS?; 2) How can we estimate channels andcontrol an RIS in real time?

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