mmWave SDR accelerates 5G research

21st April 2016
Posted By : Mick Elliott
mmWave SDR accelerates 5G research

What is claimed to be the world’s first software defined radio (SDR) for the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum has been announced by NI. The new NI mmWave Transceiver System is a full transceiver that can transmit and/or receive wide-bandwidth signals at 2GHz real-time bandwidth, covering the spectrum in the E-band, 71-76 GHz. Engineers and scientists have used SDRs ubiquitously in the spectrum below 6GHz for years.

However, with companies investing in mmWave as a potential core technology for 5G, researchers now have a full-featured SDR platform to drive initiatives based on this technology.  

The mmWave transceiver system includes new PXI Express modules that collectively function as an mmWave access point for a user device.

Because of the unprecedented flexibility, users can develop mmWave communication prototyping systems or perform channel measurements – necessary exercises for wireless researchers to understand the characteristics of a new spectrum – using the same system.  

The mmWave baseband software delivers a complete mmWave physical layer including channel coding in LabVIEW virtual instrument (VI) source code to expedite system development while alleviating many of the system integration tasks.

Researchers can also use the mmWave transceiver system baseband with the E-band mmWave heads or other third-party RF front ends to offer maximum flexibility for exploring other mmWave and microwave frequency bands.  

As a key participant in NI’s RF/Communications Lead User program, Nokia has been working with early versions of the mmWave transceiver system in its 5G research initiatives for over a year. 

“NI’s mmWave transceiver system has been a key research platform for our mmWave research,” said Tod Sizer, Head of Mobile Radio Research for Nokia Bell Labs. “The platform delivers the right combination of hardware and software necessary to expedite our research and has given us confidence that mmWave will indeed be a critical technology for 5G. At this year’s Brooklyn 5G Summit, we are demonstrating a high data rate mmWave system using phased array @ 60GHz using NI’s platform, thus making 5G a commercial reality.” 

“There’s no doubt that 5G will include frequencies above 6GHz,” said Charles Schroeder, Vice President of RF and Wireless Communications Product Marketing at NI. “The mmWave transceiver system is an essential platform for understanding the propagation models of higher frequency signals and for building real-world prototypes of these new generation 5G systems.”


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