For National Instruments (NI), the road to 5G includes provisioning a lot of prototypes, which allows the company to get an early glimpse into what eventually might end up in the final standards.
For the groundbreaking measurements that were published in the Microwave Journal last year, NYU Wireless Director Ted Rappaport and his students used the Austin, Texas-based company's technology in a tool designed to measure millimeter wave (mmW) channels. The study contributed fundamental research on the use of higher spectrum bands for mobile communications.
In October, the FCC proposed new rules for high-band spectrum above 27 GHz to lay the foundation for 5G in the U.S. Those bands include the 27.5 to 28.35 GHz, also known as the 28 GHz band; the 37 to 38.6 GHz band, also known as the 37 GHz band; from 38.6 to 40 GHz, known as the 39 GHz band; and the 64-71 GHz band.
James Kimery, NI's director of marketing for RF and communications, says the challenges of 5G are pretty daunting and differ quite a bit from 4G. Prototyping allows researchers to test ideas faster and bring that data to the standards bodies as they consider implementing new standards.
Researchers at Nokia Networks (NYSE:NOK), for example, conducted some groundbreaking research with NI this past year that produced a data rate that hits close to 5G targets. The company demonstrated a fully working mmWave prototype that streamed data at a rate of over 10 Gbps at 73.5 GHz. "The fact that they were able to demonstrate it at that rate at that frequency was truly noteworthy," Kimery told FierceWirelessTech, adding that Nokia demonstrated mobility as well.
NI would like to replicate the success that Nokia had with others and possibly in different frequency bands, he said. "There's no reason why other researchers can't duplicate the success," he said.
Until NYU Wireless and Nokia held their first 5G summit in Brooklyn, N.Y., last year, many people were skeptical about millimeter wave technology for 5G, citing challenges in propagation in frequencies that high. But once the technology started to get demonstrated, people started to see it as a viable option and more research dollars started going into it.
- see this NI trend watch report
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