What is Channel Sounding?

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Editorial Team - everything RF

Apr 4, 2019

Channel Sounding is a technique that evaluates the various characteristics of an RF Channel that is being used for wireless communication.

In a wireless communication system, the radio channel in which the signals travel has a tremendous effect on the overall system performance. When a transmitted signal propagates through air, it is affected by the terrain and obstacles in its path, before it reaches the receiver.

While designing a wireless communication system, several key parameters of the radio channel have to be estimated to develop a dependable model that can be simulated to check the performance of the communication system. By applying signal processing in the receiver, a measurement system can estimate the key parameters of the wireless channel at a specific frequency. This technique is known as Channel Sounding.

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.