Kathrein puts Testbed for LTE and 5G into Operation

Kathrein has opened a test environment for pioneering mobile network technologies at its headquarters in Rosenheim. It will be launched in collaboration with the Swedish communications corporation Ericsson. Kathrein will use the testbed to simulate novel applications in a trial network in order to gain valuable insights in the years to come. This will provide the basis for advancement of the current wireless communication standard LTE and the new standard 5G.

“The test environment will allow us to try out various technologies and their interaction in a single overall system - a capability that is very important for our development work,” explains Maximilian Göttl, Head of Portfolio & Innovation in Kathrein's Communication Products division. We’re creating our own network, as it were, so as to be able to draw conclusions from live operation.” The insights gained in this way will allow systems to be improved on a step-by-step basis, which is essential in connection with the new wireless communication standard 5G in particular.

Key insights for future practical application

“In this way we can derive recommendations for industry and network operators in terms of optimum system design,” says Göttl. He adds that this is also relevant to the technology area Massive MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output). MIMO already forms part of current LTE technology, where several reception and transmission antennas are used at the same time. In the case of Massive MIMO, dozens or even hundreds of antenna modules are deployed in an array. This allows very high data throughput rates in a frequency band.

One of the focus areas of the testbed trials will be the automotive sector. Cars will be equipped with the appropriate antenna systems so as to optimise data transmission from and to cars. In this way, test runs conducted in Rosenheim will yield valuable insights in terms of future system design. Kathrein is also collaborating with Altair Engineering GmbH. The global CAE software provider whose German headquarters are in Böblingen, provides WinProp, a programme that simulates mobile network coverage based on maps. Real testbed measurements can then be checked against the computer simulation. The ultimate aim is to be able to use computers alone to conduct test runs for future system architectures.

Project launch with Ericsson

In the new test environment, Kathrein’s innovation department is collaborating with Ericsson’s research department. The Stockholm-based network supplier has been one of Kathrein's partners for many years, now providing the base stations and other components for the measurements. “The testbed underpins our aspiration to be a pioneer when it comes to new technologies. In Rosenheim we will shape the future,” says Anton Kathrein, CEO of the Kathrein Group.