Electronic Products & Technology

NI launches application framework for massive MIMO

Stephen Law   

Wireless Engineering 5G

Goal is to speed innovation in 5G prototyping

National Instruments (NI), Austin TX, provider of platform-based systems that enable engineers to solve engineering challenges, has unveiled what it’s calling the “world’s first” MIMO application framework.

When paired with NI software defined radio hardware, this software reference design provides a well-documented, reconfigurable, parameterized physical layer written and delivered in LabVIEW source code that enables researchers to build both traditional MIMO and Massive MIMO prototypes.

Framework enables wireless designers to develop algorithms and evaluate custom IP

The LabVIEW Communications MIMO Application Framework enables wireless designers to develop algorithms and evaluate custom IP to solve many of the practical challenges associated with real-world multiuser MIMO deployments. Scalable from 4 to 128 antennas, the MIMO Application Framework, when used with the NI USRP RIO and NI PXI hardware platforms, enables users to create small to large scale antenna systems with minimal system integration or design effort. Researchers can use the system out of the box to conduct Massive MIMO experiments and seamlessly integrate their own custom signal processing algorithms in a fraction of the time compared to other approaches, thereby accelerating the overall design process as the wireless industry races to define 5G.


As participants in NI’s RF/Communications Lead User program, researchers at Bristol University have used NI’s flexible prototyping platform for 5G research and recently announced in conjunction with Lund University a world-record 22-fold increase in spectral efficiency over modern day 4G networks.

“NI’s MIMO platform has been instrumental in enabling our Massive MIMO research,” said Professor Andrew Nix, Head of the CSN Group and Dean of Engineering at the University of Bristol. “The MIMO Application Framework NI provided allowed our team to begin our work from an advanced starting point, and the seamless interaction between the software and hardware let us move quickly from theory to real-world prototyping. As a result, we were able to prove the potential of Massive MIMO as a candidate technology for 5G by setting world records in spectral efficiency.”



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