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This paper focuses on the interaction and integration of several critical components of a mobile communication network using smart-antenna systems. This wireless network is composed of communicating nodes that are mobile, and its topology is continuously changing. One of the central motivations for this work comes from the observed dependence of the overall network throughput on the design of the adaptive antenna system and its underlying signal processing algorithms. Part 1 of this two-part paper gives a brief overview of smart-antenna systems, including the different types of smart-antenna systems, and the reason for their having gained popularity. Moreover, details of typical antenna array designs suitable for the wireless communication devices are included in this part.