Wireless Network Testbed
Our testbed, SoftWare Open Radio Design (SWORD) is a flexible, low cost, scalable, software-driven platform which is open for research. It has been specifically designed for the rapid development, profiling, validation and testing of innovative approaches for next-generation networks.
Unique in the world, the testbed enables the rapid development, evaluation and testing of multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technologies.
Facilities in detail
SWORD can support large/massive MIMO setups and supplies a full 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Long-Term Evolution (LTE) compliant protocol stack. It has been built around an OpenAirInterface which was significantly extended to enable investigation of large/massive MIMO approaches.
Among SWORD’s unique features is a ‘pseudo’ real-time mode of operation which allows for validation of advanced and computationally heavy approaches in real channel conditions without investing time in code optimisation or hardware implementation. This unique feature enables realistic testing without the scalability issues associated with the real-time operation and has allowed us, for first time, to evaluate and confirm benefits of using advanced non-linear processing in a 3GPP standard–compliant framework.
The SWORD testbed platform consists of several hardware components with a x86_64 multi-core workstation supporting the newest SIMD (single instruction, multiple data) extensions AVX-512 existing at its heart. The radio part of the SWORD platform consists of several USRP (Universal Software Radio Peripheral) x310 software defined radio modules, synchronised using an external module designed for distribution of a high-accuracy timing reference. The platform exploits also a 3.4-3.8GHz 128-element rectangular antenna array with crossed dipole pairs of dual-polarised elements arranged in an 8x8 fashion.