Modeling the best RF in the world

One of the great things about teaming up with a great university department is getting access to some of the latest equipment. The Communication Systems and Networks (CSN) group at the University of Bristol has just taken delivery of a key piece of equipment that can speed up the development of complex high performance radio links.

This is of course a key part of what we do at Blu Wireless. We are passionate about delivering the highest quality radio links, and modeling the technology is a key part of this.

Anite’s latest RF fading emulator enables realistic propagation simulation in the lab so that researchers and developers can have more accurate models and measurements before they start. The new emulator allows us to simulate the characteristics of real-world radio channel conditions within a laboratory, emulating the radio channel characteristics like path loss, multi-path fading, delay spread, Doppler spread, polarization, correlation and spatial parameters critical for multiple in/multiple out (MIMO) designs and multi-radio system performance.

The ability to emulate the effects of multiple transmitters and multiple receivers is vital – this is really hard to do, and yet the effects in the real world are dramatic. With many different radio sources around at all kinds of frequencies, the different signals can interfere with the ones you want, reducing the performance and requiring more power. Being able to emulate the different sources that can be present, as well as the multiple sources that you are using, provides really useful data on how the system will perform out in the field. This allows us to design the best possible systems.

Anite’s Propsim eight channel F8 emulator is currently the only radio channel emulator with an RF channel bandwidth of 160 MHz. This wide capability allows us to verify very high data rates as well as implement advanced 5G and 802.11ad features, such as multi-user MIMO and beamforming.

The company is based in Fleet, Hampshire, not far from our headquarters in Bristol, and has 500 staff around the world specialising in wireless test systems and analytics software. The Propsim emulator development team, based in Finland, has spearheaded radio channel emulation research since 1989. The user-friendly interface, with a library of channel models, allows us to quickly design new propagation models by rigorously modelling the components that make up a communications link. This means we can ‘stack’ multiple channels in the frequency domain to test wideband applications that use antenna array technology and beamforming techniques for millimetre wave wireless access technologies. This support is essential, as sophisticated, leading edge equipment isn’t always easy to use. Anite’s training for the department included staff from Blu Wireless and other companies so that they can make full use of the system.

The emulator technology has been so well regarded that Anite was taken over earlier this year by Keysight Technologies, the renamed test and measurement business of HP formerly known as Agilent, in a $607m deal.

With the leading edge Anite emulator technology in the University lab in Bristol, we can test out our designs before they are built, testing out different algorithms and architectures in the early stages and testing out the equipment later on, quickly and efficiently. This kind of collaboration is essential in our mission to build the very best RF systems that operate effectively around the world.