Using Virginia Diodes (VDI) radio heads, the frequency range of the MTS can extend into the sub THz range. Because the 6G testbed is built using SDRs and FPGAs, the software can be upgraded and customized to meet a wide range of research needs and applications.
Developers can use existing software reference designs for channel sounding or wireless communications protocols to create a real-time testbed for 6G research. The development cycle of a typical wireless standard is approximately 10 years. As the commercial rollout of 5G begins in 2019, wireless communications researchers are already investigating the technology and ideas that will serve as the foundation of 6G. The use of sub THz and THz frequencies has numerous applications for communications and is likely to be a major area of 6G research in the foreseeable future.
The NI and VDI sub THz testbed provides up to 2 GHz instantaneous bandwidth and frequency ranges between 110–170 GHz. NI offers two software reference designs built around the NI MTS—one for channel sounding and one for a single carrier physical layer communications link. The channel sounding reference design is intended for a single transmitter, single receiver configuration and enables users to take basic channel sounding measurements, such as channel impulse response, time of arrival and path loss. The single carrier physical layer is designed for systems in SISO configurations up to 4x4 MIMO configurations with 2 GHz of real-time bandwidth. All signal processing, including coding, occurs in real-time on FPGAs added to the base MTS system.