NI launches LTE-U/LAA Testbed at MWC 2016

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NI announced a new system for testing, experimenting on and prototyping new LTE Unlicensed (LTE-U) and/or License Assisted Access (LAA) wireless access technologies at the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2016) in Barcelona this month.

Though 5G has generated significant interest and focus, new technologies such as LTE-U and LAA are needed today to enhance the 4G data experience and help close the gap until 5G arrives, NI said in a press statement.

The testbed includes an FPGA-based LTE physical layer in source code so that different scenarios of LTE-U and LAA can be tested, evaluated and potentially augmented to assess performance and increase data rates for systems built on existing LTE and 802.11 infrastructure.

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 minimize 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.”