National Instruments has shown what it claims is the first public demonstration at 28GHz of a real-time, over-the-air prototype aligned with the Verizon 5G specification at the IEEE Wireless Communications and Networking Conference (WCNC).

The demo took place in San Francisco where a system using OFDM with 8 component carriers in a 2x2 downlink MU-MIMO configuration with hybrid beamforming and a self-contained subframe yielded a 5Gbit/s peak throughput scalable to over 20Gbit/s with 8 MIMO streams.

While Verizon, the U.S. carrier, had announced the availability of its 5G Technology Forum specification back in 2015, for which there had no public over-the-air demonstrations at 28GHz. The 28GHz frequency band is significant because Verizon and its partners designated it for deployment in that country.

The prototype was built using NI’s mmWave Transceiver System (introduced last year; like that shown in the image above) with a new version of the RF mmWave heads operating at 28GHz and phased array antennas developed by Anokiwave and Ball Aerospace. The prototype system was written with the Labview system design software and features modifiable real-time code for both the base station and the user equipment (UE or CPE).

"Researchers can take advantage of the combination of hardware and software to rapidly prototype new wireless standards and iterate quickly to reduce time to results," said James Kimery, director of RF research and SDR marketing at NI, in a press statement.