TMYTEK Rapid mmWave Prototyping Solution Unlocks NI’s Advanced Wireless Communication, Sensing Capabilities

Article By : TMY Technology Inc.

TMYTEK's ready-to-use mmWave prototyping platform helps accelerate the process from prototyping to commercialization.

Recent 5G/B5G, SATCOM, and 6G trends have led to an increase in demand for mmWave technologies. Advanced  communication and sensing system applications require greater throughput, larger bandwidth, lower latency, and/or hybrid positioning, where mmWave technologies offer both  significant bandwidth and high data rates for communications, as well as higher frequencies with shorter wavelengths which increase sensing range resolutions.

However, high frequency propagation fading into the mmWave band raises significant challenges. Researchers have been studying comprehensive technologies that measure Channel State Information (CSI) to estimate the radio channel characterization in complex NLOS environments for application in  beamforming systems that realize Massive MU-MIMO through beam steering and beam tracking.

This concept is as shown in Figure 1. From research to commercialization, a proof-of-concept prototyping system could be evaluated in an emulation platform with a standard protocol stack to simulate real-world operations, as demonstrated by the example shown in Figure 2.

Figure 1: MIMO Architecture

Figure 2: 5G O-RAN Communication System

TMYTEK’s Rapid mmWave Prototyping Solution

TMYTEK, a mmWave total solution pioneer, offers a ready-to-use platform to accelerate the process from prototyping to commercialization. Its Rapid mmWave Prototyping Solution is composed of:

Frequency Convertor: UD Box 5G, an up-and-down converter that features an ultra-wideband that covers the most of the Sub-6 GHz band to fully utilize the 5G NR FR2 mmWave band with performance EVM guaranteed.

Beamformer: BBox 5G series, a single box integrating PAs, LNAs, Tx/Rx switches, and phase shifters with a choice of a 4×4 or 1×4 array antenna kit.

TMXLAB KIT (aka TLK): A concise and intuitive GUI for beamforming experiments and frequency settings, including APIs for LabVIEW, MATLAB, Python, C++, and C#.

Figure 3 shows the TMYTEK’s Rapid mmWave Prototyping Solution with NI’s USRP X410 SDR platform to enable system developers the ability to experiment with their protocol and algorithm innovations with full mmWave capabilities. The X410 is NI’s most powerful USRP as of its introduction in June 2021. The X410 offers features not found in its legacy series and supports 4Tx/4Rx radio with 400 MHz bandwidth and 5G NR FR2 standard waveform that can be applied to any mmWave communication experiment.

TMYTEK’s solution fully unlocks  NI’s USRP X410 Sub-6 GHz radio platform mmWave capability. This platform has been intensively tested for system compatibility and performance. The following test cases are based on the system architecture in FIgure 3 that demonstrates the expansion of the SDR Sub-6 GHz spectrum to 5G FR2 mmWave bands using the UD Box 5G while maintaining excellent EVM performances. The BBox 5G can also be used to fine-tune the gain and phase of multiple RF channels to experience beamforming behaviors.

Figure 3: System architecture of TMYTEK’s rapid mmWave prototyping solution with NI’s USRP X410

Test Case 1 | Transmit & Analyze 5G NR mmWave

To convert the Sub-6 GHz signals of NI’s X410 to 28 GHz, the TMYTEK’s UD Box 5G up/down frequency converter and BBox 5G beamformer frontend are used to transmit and analyze the 5G NR FR2 waveform in true mmWave bands. mmWave frequency settings, each channel on/off, and gain and phase settings can be individually controlled by TLK, as well as LabVIEW’s GUI as shown in Figure 4. The EVM of a signal with 400 MHz bandwidth and 256 QAM performed excellent quality that was superior to 3GPP’s TS 38.521 specification on 3.5% (-29dB) for 256 QAM. he result is as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 4: LabVIEW GUI of UD Box 5G, BBox One 5G and BBox Lite 5G.

Figure 5: EVM result of 5G NR FR2 400MHz/256QAM/120K SCS waveform.

*X410 TX EVM for reference: -38dB@2.5G/400MHz/120k SCS

Test Case 2 | Beam Steering

Beamforming technology is essential for mmWave applications. TMYTEK provides a ready-to-use beam management platform to visually experiment with beamforming behavior on the TMXLAB Kit (TLK) GUI as shown in Figure 6. Beams can  be easily grabbed and steered to see the result of misalignment . TLK is also a helpful tool for simulating beam tracking. Figure 7 shows a setup with the BBox Lite 5G moved azimuthally and the BBox One 5G beam aimed to align with the BBox Lite 5G. This demonstrates how easy and intuitive it is to recover the signal by setting the boresight and beam steering angle. This beamforming testbed also offers an extremely useful platform for beam management algorithm developers.

Figure 6: TMXLAB Kit (TLK) GUI

Figure 7: Beam steering experiment by azimuth.

Key Takeaways

This solution further enables mmWave capabilities for advanced research and commercialized development. The key takeaways are categorized below by solution features, what advantages TMYTEK offers, and how it benefits customers.

*Github sample code: https://github.com/tmytek

Benefits to Industry

TMYTEK leads the world’s communication markets in 5G/B5G and SATCOM by providing the most innovative and cost-effective mmWave solutions, and further to advanced wireless sensing, AI design engineering and smart city relevant domain. TMYTEK has experienced lots of mmWave momentum and stepped forward to dig out issues and solve the problems. The goal is to offer the ubiquitous mmWave devices to enrich and improve quality for human’s daily life.

In the research field, Shanghai University and XIDIAN University adopted TMYTEK’s solution for array antenna design and verification; University of Hawaiʻi utilized mmWave characteristic based on TMYTEK’s platform to develop the non-contact vital signal detector for COVID-19.

In the commercialized market, there are many advanced phase array antenna subsystem design projects that are ongoing for 5G mmWave O-RAN RU, SATCOM user terminals as well as for the maritimes and the aerospace usage.

Furthermore, TMYTEK takes the responsibilities to integrate the ecosystem’s valued chain resources to guarantee the mmWave from booming to success; meanwhile, sustains the long-term industry development of ecosystem players.

Together with TMYTEK, witness the arrival of mmWave.

 

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