National Instruments has released multiple antenna user equipment (UE) support for its LabVIEW Communications MIMO Application Framework. The MIMO Application Framework claims to be the only commercially available physical layer reference design that powers true massive MIMO prototyping that goes beyond just desktop simulations to fully functional 5G deployments.

Wireless researchers can pair the MIMO Application Framework with NI software defined radio hardware to conduct real-time, over-the-air experiments for MIMO research topics including multi-user MIMO, single-user MIMO and massive MIMO. This multi-FPGA physical layer reference design ships with well-documented LabVIEW Communications source code that is fully reconfigurable and modifiable, making it possible to create a complete network of multiple antenna devices with minimal system integration or design effort.

Researchers can explore beamforming techniques not just at the base station, but also at the UE to further improve overall network throughput, extend cell coverage and reduce interference, NI noted. The MIMO Application Framework supports a maximum network throughput of more than 1.5Gb/s, a flexible and reconfigurable Time Division Duplex-based frame structure and a fully bidirectional communications link that can be used out of the box to conduct Massive MIMO experiments and seamlessly integrate custom signal processing algorithms in a fraction of the time compared to other approaches.