The advancements in microwave power transfer (MPT) over recent decades have enabled wireless power transfer over long distances. The latest breakthroughs in wireless communication – massive MIMO, small cells, and millimeterwave communication – make wireless networks suitable platforms for implementing MPT. This can lead to the elimination of the “last wires” connecting mobile devices to the grid for recharging, thereby tackling a huge long-standing ICT challenge.
Furthermore, the seamless integration between MPT and wireless communication opens up a new area called wirelessly powered communications (WPC) where many new research directions arise, such as simultaneous information and power transfer, WPC network architectures, and techniques for safe and efficient WPC. This article provides an introduction to WPC by describing the key features of WPC, shedding light on a set of frequently asked questions, and identifying the key design issues and discussing possible solutions.