Looking at the predictions for the growth in wireless data, it should be obvious that such low frequencies as UHF, and even single digital GHz bands, won't be able to meet this insatiable demand for content without violating the laws of physics.
And as you may have noticed, most reports on "5G" technology describe systems using frequencies well above 10 GHz. Designing wireless networks for millimeter wavelengths requires new technology to overcome the additional loses at such high frequencies and researchers at the University of Bristol have developed some innovative solutions using beam-forming antennas to provide reliable coverage at 60 GHz.
The University of Bristol's Communication Systems and Networks research group partnered with Bristol start-up Blue Wireless Technology (BWT) to develop a system using electronically-steered high-gain antennas to track users as they move within the network. A demonstration of the results from the first phase of work is scheduled to be presented at the Small Cells World Summit in London this week. The demonstration shows how the system supports robust point-to-point communications at distances up to 400 meters and multi-gigabit beam-forming allows mobile tracking up to 100 meters from the base station. The system is able to adapt to signal blocking from fixed obstructions such as trees and moving obstructions such as buses.
To understand how the system functions, play the video in the University of Bristol news release Innovative millimetre wave communications to be demonstrated at London exhibition.
Andrew Nix, Professor of Wireless Communication Systems and Head of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, explained how it was generated:
"Our sophisticated ray tracing tools have been combined with the University’s high performance computing facilities to enable the rapid analysis of complex millimeter wave systems. In particular, our simulators combine detailed channel models with antenna arrays and beam tracking algorithms to dynamically determine user performance in a virtual network."
The video shows mobile and fixed link performance under different conditions in a simulated environment along paths with trees and a moving obstruction. As the link switches between base stations and moves from direct to reflected paths, a constellation diagram shows how the modulation and SNR changes along with link capacity. The video also shows the changing antenna patterns that the base stations create as the path changes. "
This technology builds on a wealth of knowledge and expertise over the last 25 years in Smart Antenna systems and an in-depth understanding of radio wave propagation," said Mark Beach, professor of radio systems engineering, within the school’s department of electrical and electronic engineering. "Our rich mix of fundamental research and practical validation at Bristol makes us an ideal partner for industrially relevant projects such as this."
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Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.
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