Building a Test Bed for New 5G Technology Using NI Software Defined Radio

When building a completely new system or test bed, the risks of designing or developing a fully custom radio from a circuit board are too great to take on because the development stage may require plenty of redesigning

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"When building a completely new system or test bed, the risks of designing or developing a fully custom radio from a circuit board are too great to take on because the development stage may require plenty of redesigning. Also, the system may need various adjustments after it has started going through complete runs or during the experiment. Choosing a COTS solution has significant advantages to easily performing measurements while making those changes."

- Masayuki (大堂) Ohdo (雅之 氏), National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (国立研究開発法人 情報通信研究機構)

The Challenge:
We aimed to develop wireless communication technology that could remarkably reduce the latency caused by a series of communication-related processes while multiple mobile phones, also called user equipment (UE), simultaneously connect to a single base station. To achieve this, we needed to design a completely new wireless communication method from scratch, build a high-performing test bed within a short time period, and obtain experimental results to prove the validity of that method.

The Solution:
We used commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software defined radio (SDR) solutions that offer flexible software support for various specifications and functions to build a high-performing system in a short period, while avoiding the risks inherent in a new design. We created an environment to prove the validity of the new communication method based on real-world radio propagation by using USRP RIO solutions, which emulate UEs, and combining NI’s PXI products and FlexRIO devices to emulate a base station.

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