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Samsung demonstrates 5G FD-MIMO Basestation Prototype with FPGA-based 3D Beamforming at NI Week

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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Today during the keynote session at NI Week 2015 in Austin, Texas—Gary Xu, who is Samsung’s Director of Research at Samsung Research America, Dallas—gave the first public demonstration of a prototype 5G FD-MIMO basestation capable of serving multiple users with high data rates. The demo consisted of a small basestation unit with a MIMO antenna array and four National Instruments USRP RIO software-tunable RF transceivers emulating four 5G handheld terminals.


Without Samsung’s new 3D beamforming algorithms switched on, the four terminals barely managed 2Mbps operation per user and the basestation could not consistently support all four users at once. Switching on the 3D beamforming and multiuser interference cancellation algorithms brought all four emulated handsets online and immediately bumped the 5G data throughput above 25Mbps per user.





Samsung FD-MIMO Throughput Screen Capture.jpg



Samsung 5G FD-MIMO Wireless Demo showing 26.56Mbps data throughput



The real-time Samsung 3D beamforming and multiuser interference cancellation algorithms are implemented in the prototype 5G FD-MIMO antenna array with a Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA. Xu says that the antenna design really benefits from the large number of DSP slices available in the Virtex-7 FPGA as well as the large number of high-speed SerDes transceivers, which drive the 32 antennas in the MIMO array through 32 high-speed DACs. Here’s a photo of Gary Xu standing next to the prototype 5G FD-MIMO antenna array:



Samsung 5G FD-MIMO Antenna Array and Gary Xu.jpg



Gary Xu standing next to the prototype Samsung 5G FD-MIMO antenna array




And here’s a closeup photo of the circuit board in that 5G FD-MIMO antenna. You’ll see a large via grid array in the center of this circuit board. There’s a Xilinx Virtex-7 on the other side of that via grid array.



Samsung 5G FD-MIMO antenna array closeup.jpg 


Closeup of the circuit board in that 5G FD-MIMO antenna.

The Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA is in the center, on the back of the board.



Samsung’s 5G handset emulators are also worth discussing. They were developed using National Instruments’ USRP RIO 2953R 2x2 MIMO tunable transceivers, which are based on Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGAs. These USRP RIO transceivers are programmed with NI’s LabVIEW graphical programming environment and make use of LabView FPGA, which is based on Xilinx tools. Here’s a photo of the four USRP RIO modules that served as 5G handsets in today’s demo:



Samsung 5G Handset Emulators based on NI USRP RIO Transceivers.jpg



This prototype system was tested at the Samsung Wireless Communications Lab in Richardson. A video screened during today’s demo showed a van in the lab’s parking lot configured as a 5G basestation with several of the emulated 5G handsets communicating with the basestation from the roof of the lab, several stories above the parking lot.


Xu said that the next step was to take its 3D beamforming technology to the 5G standards bodies as a proposed standard.


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