Just after announcing plans to scoop up a massive amount of 28 GHz and 39 GHz spectrum from Straight Path, AT&T on Wednesday revealed it teamed up with National Instruments (NI) to develop a new millimeter wave channel measurement tool.
Nicknamed the “Porcupine” internally at AT&T, the new channel sounder provides real-time channel parameter measurement and monitoring. The device, which was designed by the carrier, uses an architecture based on NI’s millimeter wave Transceiver System.
Unlike other spectrum measurement tools, AT&T said its proprietary channel sounder enables angle-of-arrival readings to be taken in milliseconds rather than minutes, with results displayed in real-time. AT&T said this capability eliminated the need to repeat experiments or adjust equipment to take multiple measurements from one location. Additionally, this speed enables measurement of 5G frequencies via drive testing, the carrier observed.
“The NI mmWave Transceiver System and LabVIEW system design software enabled AT&T and NI to define and develop a channel measurement system unmatched in the industry today,” James Kimery, director of RF research and SDR marketing at NI, said. “The combination of PXIe and LabVIEW FPGA provided the bandwidth, data, and signal processing capability and flexibility necessary to meet the requirements of mmWave and expedite 5G deployment.”
The companies indicated that with millimeter wave frequencies slated to play a large role in the 5G future, these kinds of channel measurements will be crucial to show how signals reflect off of or are blocked by surrounding objects like trees, buildings, cars, and people. The results of these tests will be used to help lay out the architecture and design of next generation wireless networks, and tell AT&T where to place its network equipment to achieve optimal performance, the carrier said.
“Utilizing mmWave spectrum for mobile 5G presents many challenges which we believe can be solved,” AT&T Senior Vice President of Wireless Network Architecture and Design Marachel Knight commented. “We identified early on that designing and real-time monitoring of mmWave spectrum needs to be much more precise than today’s cellular systems. With the help of NI’s flexible hardware and software platform, AT&T developed a new type of channel sounder and we’re using it to develop highly-advanced models that will work for our network.”
Filed Under: Telecommunications (Spectrum)