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Propagation-Channel Measurements and Hardware Verification

Propagation-Channel Measurements and Hardware Verification

The focus of this Metrology for Wireless System Group work is on developing measurement tools and procedures needed to characterize propagation channels at microwave and millimeter-wave frequencies. We then apply these tools by characterizing representative wireless environments (indoor, outdoor, and variations on both). The findings from these investigations help establish baseline performance that makers of wireless systems can use to design communications protocols and hardware that can perform across highly diverse, highly variable environments.

Specifically, we are:

  • Verifying the performance of channel sounders by comparing vector network analyzer data (with uncertainties and traceability path) to channel sounder data in identical environments. This work will boost industry confidence in channel sounder measurements at both microwave and mmWave frequencies.
  • Addressing the dearth of mmWave measurement data by gathering magnitude and phase data for frequencies of 28 GHz, 60 GHz and 83 GHz using our custom-developed NIST mmWave Channel Sounder. The findings will help to quantify the many real-world effects that must be understood before standards can be developed and hardware deployed at mmWave frequencies industry is considering for next-generation 5G wireless. These data will be disseminated to key manufacturers and academic groups through the NIST-led 5G mmWave Channel Model Alliance and other standards groups such as IEEE 802.11ay.
  • At microwave frequencies, we are taking field measurements in manufacturing facilities, the results which will inform best-practices in deploying wireless technology on the factory floor. The manufacturing industry is embracing wireless networking, and for good reason: these networks are easy to install, upgrade, expand and reconfigure. But from an RF perspective, even the most pristine and efficient factory floors are highly reflective and, often, cluttered environments, which can degrade performance and system reliability.


RF Technology Division

Created June 3, 2016, Updated March 26, 2020