A Breakthrough in Measuring 5G Channels From NIST

The main sign outside the NIST office.

Measuring 5G during testing and experiments can be a challenge for many companies. Accurately assessing how 5G spectrum works with devices, on networks, and in a range of scenarios helps wireless companies in many facets to ensure their products and services can work in real life. Overcoming this issue are the brilliant minds of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Colorado School of Mines.

Synthetic Aperture Measurements of Uncertainty in Angle of Incidence, or SAMURAI, is a system designed to measure 5G with precise accuracy. Accurate to the point that it can be traced to physical standards. SAMURAI is also small enough to provide a portable instrument for better tests in the field. 

Accuracy matters in most things but in 5G there is a premium. Small errors can lead to large mistakes and discovering inaccuracies before they become a problem is detrimental to the nature of 5G communications.  to use much higher data rates on higher frequencies, such as mmWave and the way that signals will transmit will be different than the way current devices currently operate. Companies already have instruments that can measure frequencies to a degree, but the SAMURAI system is looking to take things to a more detailed level of assessment.

One of the main differences with 5G is that data will need to be transmitted across many channels at the same time with a significant increase in data than previous generations. SAMURAI will help the wireless industry understand how this works on a greater level than was possible before. Another intriguing feature? The cost will not be an obstacle for the SAMURAI system. “SAMURAI provides a cost-effective way to study many millimeter-wave measurement issues, so the technique will be accessible to academic labs as well as instrumentation metrology labs,” said NIST’s Kate Remley. “Because of its traceability to standards, users can have confidence in the measurements. The technique will allow better antenna design and performance verification, and support network design.”

The work of NIST and the Colorado School of Mines is only getting started, however SAMURAI is already capable of measuring frequencies up to 50 GHz with plans to grow those capabilities to 75 GHz within the next year. SAMURAI receives signals over a grid through various points and measures them. It then recreates this energy in 3D to determine how it may be affected by outside factors such as the angles of arriving signals and how a signal reflects off of objects that impede its path.

SAMURAI’s recording process can take hours to finish. The analysis is completed later but includes a variety of data points including information describing the environment in which the recording takes place. Adjustments continue to be made to SAMURAI but its concept and initial application have shown promising results for the 5G industry as a whole. Stay tuned in for more exciting news in the 5G sector by signing up for our newsletter today.

Source: ScienceDaily