Frequency Agile Radio (FARAD)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Electronic and Electrical Engineering

Abstract

Wireless communications has become a pervasive technology that we use throughout our lives. Across society, there is a move away from using the internet on desktop computers and towards smartphones, tablets and laptops. Consequently, the amount of wireless data transmission to support our online activities is rapidly increasing. There is also significant growth in automatic data sharing and collection from many types of sensors, meters and embedded computers, sometimes referred to as machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. This continuing growth in mobile data is a significant problem for network operators. In order to meet this enormous traffic growth challenge, operators are considering a number of potential solutions with three leading concepts: 1. increasing the availability of radio spectrum; 2. deploying heterogeneous and small cell networks; and 3. separating control and traffic data for enhanced network management.

This project will address the expected capacity crunch by focusing on the RF bottleneck in future heterogeneous wireless networks through researching and developing miniature, integrated, reconfigurable and tuneable, multiband radios to enable 'spectrum agile' radio access and concurrent multiband operation. Research will address the radio system agility across the microwave spectrum bands from 450 to 6000 MHz. The project will embrace the co-design of antennas, amplifiers, filters and digitisers to achieve spectrum and energy efficient frequency agile radio systems. The project consists of five major research areas:

1. Tuneable Antennas and Filters - Research will focus on reconfigurable and tuneable antennas with integrated filters to achieve frequency selectivity and concurrent multiband operation.
2. Transmit Amplifiers - Research on transmit amplifiers for base stations and handsets will focus on methods to achieve re-tuneable, linear, wideband, power efficient and concurrent multiband operation.
3. Receiver Interference Mitigation - Simple and efficient solutions to reduce the effects of unwanted signal suppression caused by RF blockers in the multiband RF receiver chain will be sought.
4. Multiband A/D Conversion & PAPR Reduction - Research will focus on developing concurrent multiband ADC techniques at the receiver and the design of signal sets with significantly reduced peak-to-average-power ratio (PAPR).
5. Testbed Demonstration: Themes 1-4 will lead to the evaluation and demonstration of solutions using a hardware-in-the-loop RF testbed.

By researching a frequency agile, concurrent multiband radio technology FARAD will significantly contribute to the growth of future radio access networks and the use of new spectrum bands in an efficient way. The techniques and algorithms developed in this project will enable far reaching capabilities in wireless networks for the next 20 to 30 years helping to solve the anticipated capacity crunch while establishing a new paradigm in radio transceiver design.

Planned Impact

The project plans to have wider impact through a number of pathways. These include impact on the wider community, the industrial supporters of the project, the wider UK communications industry and the researchers funded by the project.
Ultimately, the main beneficiaries of the research will be all wireless technology users. The frequency agile, multiband radio transceivers developed in FARAD will be deployed in smartphone, tablets, laptops, M2M devices and base stations operating on a global level. The potential for impact is immediate as new transceivers could advantageously employ the technology. However, even greater societal impact is envisaged as the broader capabilities of access networks for 5G and beyond become enabled by frequency agile multiband radio technology. The technology to be developed in FARAD is expected to penetrate the mass market within a 5 to 10 year time frame.

The research will also benefit UK and EU policy/regulation makers. OFCOM would benefit from an early indication of the capabilities of such hardware and its potential impact on future wireless ICT infrastructure. The efficient use of radio spectrum has significant impact on both the quality of service for users and the economic opportunity for industry and government.

The research will impact directly on the industrial supporters of the project by setting up and maintaining a regular dialogue on project progress and results. Six monthly progress meetings will be arranged and an advisory board of industrialists will be established to observe progress and contribute to the steering of the research programme. The project will involve two targeted technical workshops to discuss specific research themes and to promote interaction between the project researchers and the industrial supporters. Our industrial supporters consist of major equipment manufacturers and mobile network operators and are therefore ideally placed to bring this technology into the mass market.
Existing UK companies and new spin-out companies specialising in the design and manufacture of microwave radio units would benefit from the growth of this new market. Also, frequency agile, multiband radio technology will be of significant interest to manufacturers of military systems, such as BAE Systems and Selex ES.

The four funded postdoctoral researchers on the project will gain valuable technical and professional experience from working in this important area of technology. They will be trained to build their knowledge and experience, in particular in hardware design, implementation and testing. They will be encouraged to participate in University training on research funding, entrepreneurship and other skills aimed at developing their careers. They will also assist with supervising the four PhD students who will participate in the project.

In order to reach out to the wider non-scientific community, the postdoctoral researchers will be encouraged to become STEM ambassadors in order to encourage school children to become involved in science and engineering as a career path. Researchers from the project will also participate in Science fairs by organising events about the project.

Finally, the project will provide the investigators an opportunity to build on the reputation of the work through the recruitment and training of doctoral and masters level students. Knowledge gained from the project is likely to feed into future PhD projects and taught Masters programmes thereby enhancing the teaching and learning capabilities of both Universities in this important field.
 
Description Separably tunable multiband radio transceivers.
First confirmation in radio hardware of successful sub-band sampling for current, multiband radio reception.
Exploitation Route Potentially by radio design engineers such as Thales. Our initial findings have been extended from a concurrent tri-band radio receiver to a concurrent quad-band receiver.
Sectors Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)

URL https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8049387
 
Description We have published our findings in the IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, IEEE Access, IEEE VTC conference, WiOpt, LAPC, EuCAP and WWRF. We have continued to present our research outcomes to our industrial paprtners.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software)
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Direct Digitisation for Frequency Agile Millimetre Wave Massive MIMO
Amount £617,540 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/S008101/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 07/2021
 
Description iCASE PhD Scholarship
Amount £92,530 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/L50564X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 03/2019
 
Description CommNet2 Partners 
Organisation NEC Corporation
Department NEC Telecom MODUS Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Please see the following field for further details on the nature of this partnership. All of the partners in CommNet, including NEC Telecom Modus, benefit from having the opportunity to review and discuss major developments relating to the UK's research roadmap in ICT relevant to communications and networking.
Collaborator Contribution NEC Telecom Modus LTD is one of several companies that contribute to the CommNet Advisory Board. As such, the CommNet management team benefit from the advice received from the Advisory Board and companies like NEC. which feedback and comment on best practice and event plans as well as alerting the Management Board to opportunities. In the case of NEC, these opportunities frequently relate to the develop of the 5G standard.
Impact The key outputs or products of CommNet have been workshops, which address future research challenges on topics strategic to the development of the UK's research in ICT focused on communications and networking.
Start Year 2015
 
Description DDmmMaMi Project Partners 
Organisation BAE Systems
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The development of direct RF sampling techniques for millimetre wave massive MIMO systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice on systems architecture, COTs device functionality and network deployment options.
Impact The project is multi-disciplinary working across millimetre wave antennas and direct RF digitisation of millimetre wave signals. As such this represents two discipline in EM theory (antennas) and digital signal processing (fast digitisations).
Start Year 2019
 
Description DDmmMaMi Project Partners 
Organisation Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The development of direct RF sampling techniques for millimetre wave massive MIMO systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice on systems architecture, COTs device functionality and network deployment options.
Impact The project is multi-disciplinary working across millimetre wave antennas and direct RF digitisation of millimetre wave signals. As such this represents two discipline in EM theory (antennas) and digital signal processing (fast digitisations).
Start Year 2019
 
Description DDmmMaMi Project Partners 
Organisation NEC Corporation
Department NEC Telecom MODUS Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The development of direct RF sampling techniques for millimetre wave massive MIMO systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice on systems architecture, COTs device functionality and network deployment options.
Impact The project is multi-disciplinary working across millimetre wave antennas and direct RF digitisation of millimetre wave signals. As such this represents two discipline in EM theory (antennas) and digital signal processing (fast digitisations).
Start Year 2019
 
Description DDmmMaMi Project Partners 
Organisation Real Wireless
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The development of direct RF sampling techniques for millimetre wave massive MIMO systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice on systems architecture, COTs device functionality and network deployment options.
Impact The project is multi-disciplinary working across millimetre wave antennas and direct RF digitisation of millimetre wave signals. As such this represents two discipline in EM theory (antennas) and digital signal processing (fast digitisations).
Start Year 2019
 
Description DDmmMaMi Project Partners 
Organisation Roke Manor Research Ltd.
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The development of direct RF sampling techniques for millimetre wave massive MIMO systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice on systems architecture, COTs device functionality and network deployment options.
Impact The project is multi-disciplinary working across millimetre wave antennas and direct RF digitisation of millimetre wave signals. As such this represents two discipline in EM theory (antennas) and digital signal processing (fast digitisations).
Start Year 2019
 
Description DDmmMaMi Project Partners 
Organisation Samsung
Country Korea, Republic of 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The development of direct RF sampling techniques for millimetre wave massive MIMO systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice on systems architecture, COTs device functionality and network deployment options.
Impact The project is multi-disciplinary working across millimetre wave antennas and direct RF digitisation of millimetre wave signals. As such this represents two discipline in EM theory (antennas) and digital signal processing (fast digitisations).
Start Year 2019
 
Description DDmmMaMi Project Partners 
Organisation Toshiba Research Europe Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The development of direct RF sampling techniques for millimetre wave massive MIMO systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice on systems architecture, COTs device functionality and network deployment options.
Impact The project is multi-disciplinary working across millimetre wave antennas and direct RF digitisation of millimetre wave signals. As such this represents two discipline in EM theory (antennas) and digital signal processing (fast digitisations).
Start Year 2019
 
Description DDmmMaMi Project Partners 
Organisation VCE Mobile & Personal Comm Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution The development of direct RF sampling techniques for millimetre wave massive MIMO systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice on systems architecture, COTs device functionality and network deployment options.
Impact The project is multi-disciplinary working across millimetre wave antennas and direct RF digitisation of millimetre wave signals. As such this represents two discipline in EM theory (antennas) and digital signal processing (fast digitisations).
Start Year 2019
 
Description FARAD Partners 
Organisation Cascoda
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Developed a concurrent, multiband, tunable single chain radio transceiver that operates from 750 MHz to 6000 MHz for applications in 5G and beyond wireless communication systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice, components, test and measurement equipment, participation in industry facing workshops, secretarial support, use of venues to host progress meetings.
Impact Key outputs are paper publications as listed under "publications". The project involves three main disciplines within Electronic and Electrical Engineering: 1) baseband signal processing; 2) radio frequency circuit design; and 3) antennas.
Start Year 2015
 
Description FARAD Partners 
Organisation Fujitsu
Department Fujitsu Laboratories of Europe
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Developed a concurrent, multiband, tunable single chain radio transceiver that operates from 750 MHz to 6000 MHz for applications in 5G and beyond wireless communication systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice, components, test and measurement equipment, participation in industry facing workshops, secretarial support, use of venues to host progress meetings.
Impact Key outputs are paper publications as listed under "publications". The project involves three main disciplines within Electronic and Electrical Engineering: 1) baseband signal processing; 2) radio frequency circuit design; and 3) antennas.
Start Year 2015
 
Description FARAD Partners 
Organisation Harada industry co., ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Developed a concurrent, multiband, tunable single chain radio transceiver that operates from 750 MHz to 6000 MHz for applications in 5G and beyond wireless communication systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice, components, test and measurement equipment, participation in industry facing workshops, secretarial support, use of venues to host progress meetings.
Impact Key outputs are paper publications as listed under "publications". The project involves three main disciplines within Electronic and Electrical Engineering: 1) baseband signal processing; 2) radio frequency circuit design; and 3) antennas.
Start Year 2015
 
Description FARAD Partners 
Organisation NEC Corporation
Department NEC Telecom MODUS Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Developed a concurrent, multiband, tunable single chain radio transceiver that operates from 750 MHz to 6000 MHz for applications in 5G and beyond wireless communication systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice, components, test and measurement equipment, participation in industry facing workshops, secretarial support, use of venues to host progress meetings.
Impact Key outputs are paper publications as listed under "publications". The project involves three main disciplines within Electronic and Electrical Engineering: 1) baseband signal processing; 2) radio frequency circuit design; and 3) antennas.
Start Year 2015
 
Description FARAD Partners 
Organisation Orange Corporate Services Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Developed a concurrent, multiband, tunable single chain radio transceiver that operates from 750 MHz to 6000 MHz for applications in 5G and beyond wireless communication systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice, components, test and measurement equipment, participation in industry facing workshops, secretarial support, use of venues to host progress meetings.
Impact Key outputs are paper publications as listed under "publications". The project involves three main disciplines within Electronic and Electrical Engineering: 1) baseband signal processing; 2) radio frequency circuit design; and 3) antennas.
Start Year 2015
 
Description FARAD Partners 
Organisation Roke Manor Research Ltd.
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Developed a concurrent, multiband, tunable single chain radio transceiver that operates from 750 MHz to 6000 MHz for applications in 5G and beyond wireless communication systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice, components, test and measurement equipment, participation in industry facing workshops, secretarial support, use of venues to host progress meetings.
Impact Key outputs are paper publications as listed under "publications". The project involves three main disciplines within Electronic and Electrical Engineering: 1) baseband signal processing; 2) radio frequency circuit design; and 3) antennas.
Start Year 2015
 
Description FARAD Partners 
Organisation Thales Group
Department Thales Research & Technology (Uk) Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Developed a concurrent, multiband, tunable single chain radio transceiver that operates from 750 MHz to 6000 MHz for applications in 5G and beyond wireless communication systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice, components, test and measurement equipment, participation in industry facing workshops, secretarial support, use of venues to host progress meetings.
Impact Key outputs are paper publications as listed under "publications". The project involves three main disciplines within Electronic and Electrical Engineering: 1) baseband signal processing; 2) radio frequency circuit design; and 3) antennas.
Start Year 2015
 
Description FARAD Partners 
Organisation U-Blox Melbourn Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Developed a concurrent, multiband, tunable single chain radio transceiver that operates from 750 MHz to 6000 MHz for applications in 5G and beyond wireless communication systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice, components, test and measurement equipment, participation in industry facing workshops, secretarial support, use of venues to host progress meetings.
Impact Key outputs are paper publications as listed under "publications". The project involves three main disciplines within Electronic and Electrical Engineering: 1) baseband signal processing; 2) radio frequency circuit design; and 3) antennas.
Start Year 2015
 
Description FARAD Partners 
Organisation Virtual Centre of Excellence (VCE) in mobile communications
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Developed a concurrent, multiband, tunable single chain radio transceiver that operates from 750 MHz to 6000 MHz for applications in 5G and beyond wireless communication systems.
Collaborator Contribution Technical advice, components, test and measurement equipment, participation in industry facing workshops, secretarial support, use of venues to host progress meetings.
Impact Key outputs are paper publications as listed under "publications". The project involves three main disciplines within Electronic and Electrical Engineering: 1) baseband signal processing; 2) radio frequency circuit design; and 3) antennas.
Start Year 2015