28GHz 5G band, bidirectional phased-array unveiled

Posted By : Mick Elliott

What is claimed to be the world’s fastest bidirectional phased-array link in the 28GHz 5G band has been announced by Keysight Technologies and the University of California San Diego. The achievement is an important milestone for delivering future applications in 5G, aerospace and defence.

The demonstration included a 64-element array that achieved a data rate of 12Gbps at 0 degrees and more than 8Gbps over all scan angles up to ±50 degrees in azimuth and +/-25 degrees in elevation at a link distance of 300 metres.

The array produced data rates of up to 18Gbps at shorter distances. The bit-error-rate was less than 10-7 at maximum scan angles. The results did not rely on any calibration on the 64-element phased-array, thereby greatly reducing implementation costs.

The 64-element phased array, built on a low-cost printed-circuit board, only consumed approximately 7-11 W of DC power in either its transmit (Tx) or receive (Rx) modes thanks to the UC San Diego high-performance system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs that uses a third-generation silicon germanium (SiGe BiCMOS SBC18H3) process from TowerJazz.

UC San Diego used Keysight’s Signal Studio Software to define and generate the 16-QAM and 64-QAM waveforms, with single and multiple carriers.

Keysight’s 81199A Wideband Waveform Centre software helped the team link the Tx and Rx units as well as improve the error vector magnitude (EVM) performance.

The team also used Keysight’s 896000VSA software to perform demodulation, channel equalisation and analysis of advanced signals.

Keysight’s M8195A arbitrary waveform generator, E8267D vector signal generator and DSO804A high-definition oscilloscope and were used to enable rapid prototyping as well as link equalization and state-of-the-art performance measurements across modulation bandwidths of up to 3GHz frequencies.

“The results of our continuing collaboration with UC San Diego and the demonstrated advances in millimetre-wave technology provide critical proof of viability for 5G, especially in the fixed-broadband use case, which many pre-standardisation efforts focus on,” said Dr. Mark Pierpoint, vice president and general manager, Keysight Internet Infrastructure Solutions. “We are continuing to invest to create innovative solutions that enhance and accelerate the development of next-generation wireless communications.”

“UC San Diego has once again worked with Keysight to demonstrate high-performance phased-array 5G communication links, now achieving 8-12 Gbps links at long ranges and with low power consumption,” said Gabriel M. Rebeiz, member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, distinguished professor and wireless communications industry chair at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. “Keysight’s equipment and software, along with the SBC18H3 technology from TowerJazz, have been instrumental to our success.”

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