RF Excellence in Oulu
The region of Oulu is the globally recognized centre of excellence for wireless technologies considering both the RF research as well as the commercialization of radio frequency technologies. Then developing RF technologies the practical engineering work is a must – the computer simulations don’t model all phenomena that will become visible by hand-on measurements.
It is the requirement for the high quality research work on radio technologies that theories and simulations can be verified by measurements. Because of that the development of radio frequency systems require also significant investments on test equipment – especially on the area of RF component and system prototype testing but also on education andresearch.
Test equipment for the research of the future radio technologies
The RF Excellence in Oulu is the project funded by the European Regional Development Funds. The goals of the project are to maintain and improve the position of Oulu at the top of the world class radio frequency design. This is done by facilitating the high quality research on the field that is important for the industry on the region and by educating new engineers on the RF design competence.
The future radio systems set specific challenges to RF measurements. The active development work at the moment focus on future 5G systems which target to higher data rates by moving to higher frequencies and wider signal bandwidths. This requires new test equipment and new test set-ups.
Measurement setup serving the top research and education of RF technologies
“RF Excellence in Oulu” -project includes investment part for the renewal of test equipment so that they will provide up-to-date measurement technologies for the needs of research and education. The target is that the test set-up can be extended easily to even higher frequencies. Project also includes the development part which targets to take a step forward in integrating test equipment with the software used for development of RF system. It also targets to develop the improved and re-usable automated test routines.
In this project we develop Matlab-based test equipment control system where test equipment software drivers are integrated as part of Matlab-code. Matlab software is used extensively in the theoretical telecommunications research and in RF-system work and this approach will make it possible to compare theoretical simulation results and actual measurements in the same environment. Also signal waveforms required for measurements can be directly generated by Matlab. This is benefit from resource usage point of view but also from educational point of view as the loop between theoretical and practical approach will be closed.
One example of new research areas that has opened when moving to higher frequencies could be adaptive beam forming antennas. Higher frequencies make possible to minituarize antenna structures so that big group of antennas can be integrated as one software controllable group. The testing of this kind of antenna arrays bring new measurement challenges. Generally integration of RF electronics to more complex entities bring challenges not only for the controllability of the system but also for the testing of the full RF transceiver systems where you are not anymore able to access individual RF components .
This projects targets to update and develop the RF measurements set-up in the University of Oulu so that we are able to response to these challenges.
The project will be implemented during years 2016 and 2017.
Objectives and new technologies with an impact to equipment investments
Companies supporting the project:
- Nordic Semiconductor
- Keysight Technologies