Björn Johannisson, Research Manager at Ericsson
In simple terms, future wireless communication requires two improvements: higher frequency spectrum and new antenna systems. Chalmers has the skills to achieve both – organised through two research centres, Chase and GigaHertz Centre, both funded by Vinnova. Through collaboration in the project MATE, they are jointly developing a test bed for Massive MIMO antenna technology.
Björn Johannisson, research manager at Ericsson, is impressed with how the project has succeeded.
“It’s not always easy to create collaborative projects of this kind. The researchers need to get along, the partners have to find mutual interests, and the practical parts needs to be addressed. I’m impressed with how it has succeeded, and we see a great value in our collaboration with Chalmers,” he says.
MIMO, or “multiple input-multiple output”, is a technology that improves transfer capacity by adding a large number of antennas in both transmitters and receivers, making it possible to transmit multiple data streams simultaneously. Future systems may involve hundreds, or even thousands, of antennas.
“It means that you transmit several streams of information that mix in the air and must then be separated at the receiving end. We are currently developing technology to handle this effectively, but in the MATE project we also want to enable higher frequencies, which adds to our challenge. This requires collaboration because the signal processing must be adapted to the properties of the hardware.”
Chalmers and MATE are at the forefront of the research, Johannisson claims.
“There are a number of test beds developed at companies, but this is one of the first being created for high frequencies in an academic environment. Which is important to us since the academic research is more transparent, and we want the technology to become globally acknowledged.”
To Ericsson, the technology is interesting for the next generation of mobile systems, 5G. Massive MIMO will, however, have a significantly wider area of use than simply mobile phones – everything from connected cars and production environments in factories to small gadgets with communication features. Within the MATE project, a rough draft of how it will work has been drawn up, but many issues remain to be resolved regarding the precise design of the technology.
“The test bed that is soon completed will be an important platform for further work. When Chase continues in ChaseOn, we will collect measurement data in order to test algorithms and to provide insights into how high-performance antenna systems can be designed,” concludes Johannisson.
Text: Lars Nicklason
Photo: Henrik Sandsjö
More about the MATE project:Massive MIMO test bed, project startShort interview with Thomas Eriksson at the start of the MATE project