What is 5G Channel Sounding?

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Tim Masson - Keysight Technologies

Jan 7, 2019

Channel Sounding is the term used for the processes used to make measurements to determine the properties of a radio channel. The RF radio channel is the heart of any radio-communication system and it is necessary to understand the characteristics of the channel to design a system that can use it optimally.

Channel sounding measures parameters such as path loss, delay, absorption, reflection, multipath, fading, Doppler, all parameters which affect the performance of the overall system.  

5G will incorporate many new features that have not traditionally been used in mobile communications and to ensure that the system meets its overall performance objectives we need to have a better understanding of the way these features operate over real-world channels.

5G channel sounding is designed to measure channel performance dynamically on very wide channels - typically > 500 MHz wide, operating in the mmWave spectrum (25 to greater than 50 GHz) and using MIMO and Beamforming transmissions.  Dynamic performance is important because 5G anticipates operation to high-speed vehicular transport platforms such a cars, trucks, buses and high-speed trains.