RF WebLab give users worldwide the possibility to perform real high frequency measurements without having to purchase or manage complicated high frequency instruments such as signal generator, oscilloscope and amplifiers. Instead, the user submits their signal data on-line to Chalmers WebLab, where the actual measurements take place and the distorted signal result is sent back to the user.
The tool was setup for a student competition at the International Microwave Symposium conference – the world's largest microwave technology research conference, where students compete for developing algorithms to optimise signal quality and efficiency for a radio amplifier.
The online tool is linked to measurement equipment hosted by the Microwave Electronics Laboratory at Chalmers. Since its start in 2014, WebLab has been developed into a versatile measurement tool for studying wideband
modulated power amplifiers in realistic conditions, specifically the setup is useful for understanding and improving amplifiers in modern communication systems, and is used, among other things, to reduce the energy consumption of next generation 5G systems. Other uses are to measure and optimise signal quality for modern radar signals, or for medical applications where radio signals are used to map human tissue for disease analysis.
The first version of the online tool was proposed by Thomas Eriksson and Christian Fager at Chalmers, and later Per Landin and Sebastian Gustafsson developed the concept. In 2014, National Instruments donated new hardware to RF WebLab, and Koen Buisman set up and further developed the new system, including a generic server client infrastructure, together with Bill Tokmakis. Further expansion to other types of measurement sets is planned.
"The uniqueness of WebLab is the simplicity – anyone with a computer can connect to high-tech measuring equipment and perform measurements on a world-class system. And it's completely free of charge", says Thomas Eriksson.
The current system has been in operation for three years, and over 380,000 measurements have been performed by users from around the world, both for education and research. At Chalmers, the system is actively used in both education and research. For the students, it becomes a unique opportunity to come closer to a real system, and the researchers appreciate the simplicity of measuring.
"We have had approximately 2000 unique users from academia and industry, from around the world. It's amazing and great that RF WebLab has reached so many users”, says Koen Buisman.RF WebLab >ContactThomas Eriksson
, Professor, Department of Electro EngineeringChristian Fager
, Professor, Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience
, Assistant Professor, Department of Microtechnology and Nanoscience
The hardware of RF Weblab
Text and photo: Malin Ulfvarson