Test-bed will accelerate ultra-fast 5G implementation

29-01-2016 | By Paul Whytock

A platform to create technologies vital for the millimetre wave (mmWave) radio spectrum is being built by the New York University (NYU) Wireless research centre.

The development of mmWave radio spectrum technologies is an imperative to launching the next ultra-high-data-rate generation of wireless communication, or 5G.

The platform is said to be one of the first available to researchers in academia, government and industry who are working on developmental stages of mmWave technology. It will be funded by a National Science Foundation program that supports potentially transformative research.

Millimetre wave communication relies on highly directional transmissions in which energy is concentrated in narrow beams. Current mmWave prototyping systems use directional horn antennas mounted on mechanically rotatable gimbals. The problem is that mechanical systems are too cumbersome and slow for mobile applications. The new software-defined radio (SDR) platform will integrate an electrically steerable phased array with no physically moving parts and near-instantaneous steering. Equipment from an NYU Wireless affiliate sponsor SiBEAM, a Lattice Semiconductor company and a leading company in mmWave RF work, will supply the RF front end for the test-bed.

Equipment from another NYU Wireless affiliate sponsor, National Instruments (NI), will provide a high bandwidth and massive baseband processing system to create mmWave prototypes capable of high data rates and very low latency.

Both SiBEAM and NI will contribute engineering assistance to NYU researchers and as part of the program, support will be provided for the system’s release to other university and industry groups to speed development of mmWave technology.

The mmWave frequencies above 10 gigahertz (GHz) are considered a promising element in the work to increase the capacity in cellular and local area networks to accommodate future bandwidthrequirements.

It is thought the mmWave spectrum could provide 200 times the capacity of all of today’s cellular spectrum allocations and 5G is projected to become more than 1,000 times faster than 4G.


By Paul Whytock

Paul Whytock is Technology Correspondent for Electropages. He has reported extensively on the electronics industry in Europe, the United States and the Far East for over thirty years. Prior to entering journalism, he worked as a design engineer with Ford Motor Company at locations in England, Germany, Holland and Belgium.