The world’s first software-defined radio (SDR) for the millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum was announced at the Brooklyn 5G Summit, an event focused on the next steps for making 5G a commercial reality.
The new mmWave Transceiver System was developed by National Instruments Inc. It is a full transceiver that can transmit and/or receive wide-bandwidth signals at a 2 GHz real-time bandwidth, covering the spectrum in the E-band, 71-76 GHz. Engineers and scientists have used SDRs ubiquitously in the spectrum below 6 GHz for years. However, this is the first time SDR technology has been created for the E band.
The mmWave transceiver system includes new PXI Express modules that collectively function as an mmWave access point for a user device. 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.
NI says 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 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. “At this year’s Brooklyn 5G Summit, we are demonstrating a high-data-rate mmWave system using a phased array at 60 GHz using NI’s platform, thus making 5G a commercial reality,” said Tod Sizer, Head of Mobile Radio Research for Nokia Bell Labs.
“There’s no doubt that 5G will include frequencies above 6 GHz,” 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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