Networking & Wireless

NYU Wireless To Build Test Bed for 5G

NYU Wireless, New York University's multidisciplinary academic research center for wireless networking theories and techniques, is building an advanced programmable platform to support the development of millimeter wave (mmWave) wireless communication, also known as 5G.

5G is the next generation of cellular networking technology and has the potential to support data connection speeds exceeding 10 gigabits per second (Gbps), a thousand times faster than current 4G data rates. The mmWave spectrum could also "provide 200 times the capacity of all of today's cellular spectrum allocations," according to a news release from NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

NYU Wireless is collaborating with SiBEAM, a developer of intelligent millimeter-wave technologies for wireless communications, and National Instruments (NI), a provider of platform-based systems for engineering and science, to build a new software-defined radio (SDR) platform designed to help researchers rapidly design, prototype and validate key technologies for the mmWave radio spectrum. According to information from the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, the platform "will be one of the first of its kind available to researchers from academia, government and industry who are driving the early stages of mmWave technology."

For mmWave wireless communication to work, energy must be concentrated in narrow beams to produce highly directional transmissions. Current prototypes of mmWave technology rely on directional horn antennas mounted on mechanically rotatable gimbals, which are too large and slow for mobile applications, according to the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. The new platform will include a phased array with near-instantaneous electrical steering and no physically moving parts.

SiBEAM will provide the radio frequency front end for the platform, and National Instruments will provide "a high bandwidth and massive baseband processing system to create mmWave prototypes capable of high data rates and very low latency," according to the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Both organizations will also provide engineering support to New York University researchers.

The project has received an early-concept grant for exploratory research (EAGER Award) worth nearly $100,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF grants EAGER Awards to exploratory work on potentially transformative research.

NYU Wireless will release the system to other university and industry groups to speed the development of mmWave technology.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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