The SAMURAI system was created, which measures 5G communication channels as accurately as possible

The new system is the first of its kind to offer 5G wireless measurements with precision,

which can be traced back to fundamentalphysical standards, which is a key feature because even minor errors can lead to incorrect results. SAMURAI is also small enough to be transported to field trials.

Mobile devices such as cell phonesConsumer Wi-Fi devices and public safety radios currently operate primarily at electromagnetic frequencies below 3 gigahertz (GHz) with antennas that emit radiation equally in all directions. Experts predict that 5G technologies can boost data rates a thousandfold through the use of higher millimeter-wave frequencies above 24 GHz and highly directional, actively changing antenna patterns. Such active antenna arrays help overcome the loss of these high frequency signals during transmission. 5G systems also send signals simultaneously over multiple paths - called spatial channels - to increase speed and overcome interference.

Many instruments can measure someaspects of the characteristics of directional 5G devices and channels. But most of them are focused on collecting quick snapshots in a limited frequency range to provide an overall view of the channel. In turn SAMURAI provides a detailed "portrait". In addition, many instruments are so large that they can distort the transmission and reception of millimeter-wave signals.

Engineers Rodney Leonhardt, Alec Weiss and JeanneNIST SAMURAI's Quimby, a portable measurement system to support the design and repeatable laboratory testing of 5G wireless devices with unprecedented precision.

Credit: M. Hammer / NIST

SAMURAI is expected, of which the developerstold at the conference on August 7, will help solve many unanswered questions related to the use of active 5G antennas. For example, what happens when high data rates are transmitted over multiple channels simultaneously? The new system will help improve theory, equipment and analysis techniques to provide accurate channel models and efficient networks.

SAMURAI measures signals over a wide rangefrequencies, currently up to 50 GHz, and next year up to 75 GHz. The system gets its name because it measures the received signals at many points in a grid or virtual "synthetic aperture".

SAMURAI can be used to solve manytasks, from testing the performance of wireless devices with active antennas to measuring reflective channels in environments where metal objects scatter signals.

The main components are two antennas fortransmission and reception of signals, instruments with precise time synchronization for generating radio transmissions and analyzing reception; and a six-axis robotic arm that positions the receiving antenna at grid points that form a synthetic aperture. The robot maintains an accurate and reproducible antenna position and monitors various reception patterns in three-dimensional space, such as cylindrical and hemispherical shapes.

The system is usually attached to the optical tablemeasuring 1.5 meters by 4.3 meters. But the equipment is portable enough to be used in mobile field tests and moved to other laboratories.

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