National Instruments the provider of a software-defined platform that helps accelerate the development and performance of automated test and automated measurement systems announced two series of new millimeter wave (mmWave) radio heads for the mmWave Transceiver System. The new radio heads, which cover spectrum from 24.5 GHz to 33.4 GHz and 37 GHz to 43.5 GHz, are targeted at wireless researchers prototyping 5G New Radio (NR) systems.
NI and Spirent Communications announced their collaboration to develop test systems for 5G New Radio (NR) devices. The collaboration will allow 5G chipset and device manufacturers to validate the performance of 5G NR smartphones and IoT devices in the lab without requiring access to expensive and complex 5G base stations (gNodeBs).
As the first phase of 5G NR wraps up and the 3GPP finishes defining the communications protocol, the standards body also has identified specific frequency bands intended for 5G. Additionally, various regulatory bodies across the globe have begun the process of allocating spectrum for mmWave 5G mobile access. The coverage offered by these new radio heads enables researchers in countries like the United States, South Korea, Japan, Europe and China to quickly prototype 5G systems at the different frequency bands being considered.
NI provides engineers with the tools they need to prototype communications systems that help decrease the overall time to develop and introduce new technologies. In 2016, NI announced its mmWave Transceiver System, which features modular mmWave frequency software defined radio (SDR) technology designed for 5G and advanced wireless communications. Since then, NI has continued to release new mmWave radio heads to provide additional frequency coverage in line with the 3GPP. The new radio heads are completely compatible with the mmWave Transceiver System, including the baseband subsystem and software. They are also interchangeable with the previously released radio mmWave heads, which means the existing software can be reused with minimal changes.
The open, modifiable physical layer provided in the source code created using LabVIEW aligns with the Verizon 5G TF specification and Release 15 of 3GPP’s 5G NR specifications. It also pairs with the mmWave Transceiver System to offer researchers a flexible solution that operates as an over-the-air communications system out of the box. They can modify the source code for their specific research areas and use it for a wide range of applications including channel sounding, 5G NR algorithm development and optimization and beam steering algorithm research and test.
“The commercialization of mmWave technology is accelerating, and there is a growing global consensus that it will be a critical technology to achieve the goals set forth by the 3GPP for 5G,” said Professor Theodore (Ted) Rappaport, founding director of NYU WIRELESS and the David Lee/Ernst Weber Professor of Electrical Engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. “While 28 GHz leads in early deployments, 39 GHz is another important frequency band that is being explored and is quickly gaining popularity. These new radio heads from NI will help us expand mmWave research and expedite commercialization.”
The new 24.5-33.4 GHz radio heads include the mmRH-3642, mmRH-3652 and mmRH-3602. The new 37-43.5 GHz radio heads include the mmRH-3643, mmRH-3653 and mmRH-3603.