Beam steering or beam forming are equivalent terms describing a technique of electronically controlling the direction of a radio beam without having to move the antenna physically. This technique works with the aid of digital signal processing and complex antenna configurations, called "Phased Array Antennas". The concept works for directional signal transmission or reception. The theory behind this has been known for many years, but only since recently it is possible to realize such kind of systems in compact form, with acceptable power dissipation and at a marketable price level. Only the progress on semiconductor technology, in particular on RF components and ADCs/DACs as well as on microcontrollers' available computing power and on the achievable complexity of digital logic in FPGAs and ASICs have made this possible.
Adaptive beam steering describes the capability of dynamically changing the beam direction for tracking purposes e.g. while moving. Static beam steering - on the contrary - is used for automatic link configuration when a nomadic or semi permanent radio link is set up or when it is necessary to facilitate and accelerate the installation process of a permanent link without sophisticated measurement equipment.  By using an automatic search and optimization algorithm, the ideal direction of the beam for maximum link quality can be found and stored in the memory. Also it is possible to implement several beams.
Electronic beam steering is achieved by combining elements in a phased array antenna in such a way that signals at particular angles experience constructive interference while others experience destructive interference. Phased array antennas consist of antenna fields with a high number of antennas that are controlled individually or in small groups. By using patch or print antennas, such kind of phased array antennas can be built very flat. However, the control of such kind of antennas is pretty complex. Beamforming can be used at both the transmitting and receiving ends in order to achieve spatial selectivity. The improvement compared with omnidirectional reception/transmission is known as the receive/transmit gain (or loss).
Radio beamforming has found numerous applications in radar and wireless communications, adaptive beamforming is used to detect and estimate the signal-of-interest at the output of an antenna array by means of optimal (e.g. least-squares) spatial filtering and interference rejection.

The idea is getting rid of mechanically moving / rotating antennas like e.g. parabolic antennas for satellite communication, but also being able to re-configure the characteristics of an antenna in real time without even having to physically touch or move it.  Furthermore, electronically steered antennas have a much higher actualisation speed than mechanical ones, which leads to better accuracy in the space domain and a higher link stability.
As a conclusion, we can say that this technology opens a wide field of possible applications that couldn't even be considered in the past. 

VITES offers a selection of IP-cores for integration into FPGA or ASIC for customers who are planning to develop their own beam steering product in-house, but still want to benefit from VITES' advanced digital beam steering technology or other signal processing cores.
Drivers for licensing IP cores could be the necessary integration of the cores into an existing system-on-chip architecture due to stringend space, power or unit price requirements or due to the confidential nature of the application / product. A list of available cores will be provided on request, please send in your inquiry with a coarse description of your requirements to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..