4G LTE measurements provide better mobile surfing · 1. July 2011
Indoor experiments in downtown Aalborg with prototypes of next generation LTE mobile phones will help give consumers better data connections to the portable devices of the future. Researchers from Aalborg University and antenna experts from Molex Antenna Business Unit are conducting measurements in dense environments to ensure realistic results.
- We are trying to see how much more we can get out of the next-generation mobile phones when we have a lot of antennas in them. We can see that the location has a great influence on the performance and the most difficult scenario is indoors in the city with tall buildings around. So we test exactly those specific environments, says Professor Gert Frølund Pedersen from Aalborg University’s Department of Electronic Systems.
The ongoing measurement campaign that has previously focused on outdoor reception on the streets of Aalborg is a collaboration between the university and Molex’s antenna research department located in Nørresundby, Denmark. Testing in the antenna radio anechoic lab is perfect for some types of applications, but the 4G technology has to function in a different and tough reality. So the measurements done in the city in conjunction with the university are an opportunity to test prototypes and measurement equipment in realistic environments.
- If you just take measurements in a lab you get a misleading result. We know that these devices have to be used in the real world and so we need to include all the factors that affect this type of radio signal. With the next generation 4G and LTE systems the influence of the radio propagation environment has an enormous impact on the performance you experience as a user of the product, says the head of Molex’s research department, Morten Christensen, RF Research Manager.
The measurements are being done as some of the first in the world without the traditional cables connected to the prototype phones. The big challenge when using traditional coax cables is that they act as an extra-long antenna. This can give unrealistically good reception and thus impair measurement quality. Aalborg University and Molex have therefore developed a solution that uses fiber optics instead of the cobber coax cable, thereby completely removing an important source of error.
Huge amounts of data to analyze
The results are part of the four-year CAMMP project (Converged Advanced Mobile Media Platforms) that with support from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation and a total budget of DKK 42.5 million focuses on the convergence of the Internet, digital television, radio and mobile communications.
The immediate outcome of the measurements is an enormous amount of data that must be handled before the researchers and developers can judge the quality of the different types of antenna designs in the tested prototypes.
- We have produced several terabytes of data that have to be analyzed, but we expect to have some conclusions during the next three months, says Morten Christensen, Molex.
Then it is up to the IT and mobile industry to determine how quickly the results will benefit consumers. Professor Gert Frølund Pedersen estimates that there may be devices on the market that are utilizing the Aalborg test results within a year.
- These are antennas that are expected to be in new devices that are already being designed. Now we are testing which of these are the best. The cycle is somewhat shorter than it was before, and this is particularly true now that we are beginning to see the standard for the new 4G system. So maybe it will be only six months, explains Gert Frølund Pedersen.
- Video from the experiments.
- Gert Frølund Pedersen, Professor, Dept. of Electronic Systems, AAU, tel. +45 9940 8660
- Morten Christensen, RF Research Manager, Antenna Business Unit, Molex, mobile +45 3065 4656
- Carsten Nielsen, Science journalist, Aalborg University, mobil +45 2340 6554