Bristol & Lund universities set new world record in 5G wireless spectrum efficiency
Multiple antenna technology, also called MIMO, is already used in many Wi-Fi routers and 4G cellular phone systems. Normally this involves up to four antennas at a base station. Using a flexible prototyping platform from NI based on LabVIEW system design software and PXI hardware, the Bristol configuration implements Massive MIMO, where 128 antennas are deployed at the base station.
The hardware behind this demonstration was provided to Bristol University as part of the Bristol Is Open programmable city infrastructure. Lund University has a similar setup, the LuMaMi testbed, thus enabling researchers at both institutions to work in parallel with their development.
Bristol’s Massive MIMO system used for the demonstration operates at a carrier frequency of 3.5GHz and supports simultaneous wireless connectivity to up to 12 single antenna clients. Each client shares a common 20MHz radio channel. Complex digital signal processing algorithms unravel the individual data streams in the space domain seen by the antenna array.
The Massive MIMO demonstration was conducted in the atrium of Bristol’s Merchant Venturers Building and achieved an unprecedented bandwidth efficiency of 79.4bit/s/Hz. This equates to a sum rate throughput of 1.59Gbit/s in a 20MHz channel.
The collaborative research project with Lund University and National Instruments included 5 Bristol-based PhD students and 5 academic supervisors. In Lund 7 PhD students and 6 supervisors were involved.