Prototype Antenna Array Achieves New World Record for Wireless Spectral Efficiency

Kinneir Dufort, a Bristol-based design consultancy, helped the University of Bristol achieve a new world record for wireless spectral efficiency with a precision prototype antenna array. This result improves upon the original world record set by the university in March, as well as a recent report from Facebook, who have also been conducting research in this area.

Working with the team of 5G researchers from Bristol University, Sweden’s Lund University and National Instruments, the experts at Kinneir Dufort designed and built the intricate, multi layered components for the experimental devices.

Multiple antenna technology, referred to as MIMO, is already used in many Wi-Fi routers and 4G cellular phone systems. Normally this involves up to four antennas at a base station, but the Bristol Massive MIMO configuration had 128, each one hand assembled.

To meet the needs of the future the internet will need to be able to achieve instant data transfers and to meet this 5G function will require a 1000-fold increase on existing capabilities. The results in this experiment are one step closer towards finding out how to achieve this.

The project is part of Bristol Is Open, a joint venture between Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol, a research infrastructure to explore developments in software, hardware and telecom networks that enable more interaction between people and places and more machine-to-machine communication.

Paul Harris, Communications PhD Candidate Centre for Doctoral Training in Communications from the University of Bristol said of the work “Kinneir Dufort’s innovative ideas, attention to detail and extremely accurate hand finished construction resulted in a design that provides not only the desired performance for our measurements, but is robust and adaptable to our future needs.”

Ian Hollister, Development & Prototyping Director at Kinneir Dufort knows the importance of accuracy and attention to detail. “We have state of the art prototyping laboratories at KD. In them we have the very latest in 3D print and CNC machinery, but this is backed up by the high levels of skill and mechanical knowledge in our Team needed to deliver the accuracy required for a project like this.

The new world record, set on May 11th, served 22 users in the same time-frequency resource, equating to a spectral efficiency of 145.6 bits/s/Hz, each modulated with 256-QAM, on a shared 20 MHz radio channel at 3.51 GHz with a 128-anntenna MIMO array – basically, that is internet 22 times faster than any 4G capabilities you can get today!

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