Called LTE-U, this is being considered as a way of finding more radio channel capacity to meet spiraling mobile data demand.
The system’s FPGA-based LTE physical layer can be written in source code so that different configurations of LTE-U and License Assisted Access (LAA) can be tested and potentially implemented within existing LTE and 802.11 infrastructure.
Because both LTE-U and LAA use the 5.9GHz unlicensed ISM band to augment the cellular spectrum, devices must share the channel with Wi-Fi equipment such as 802.11a and 802.11ac.
The 3GPP Technical Specifications Group is focusing on LAA because it complies more universally with global spectrum regulations while LTE-U may be rolled out regionally.
“Several proposals have been incorporated in the proposed 3GPP standard to minimise interference with existing unlicensed band users,” said James Kimery, Director of RF Research and SDR Marketing at NI.
“However, with any new standard, thorough prototyping and testing are necessary to ensure a smooth adoption. NI’s LTE-U/LAA testbed will help researchers assess the impact of the new standard in specific test scenarios.”