An FPGA Based Rapid Prototyping Platform for MIMO Systems
There exists a seemingly limitless demand for wireless communications systems capable of higher datarates with lower power consumption. While the demand for improvement in these systems seems limitless, the spectrum allocated for providing such services is undeniably restricted. There is a great deal of research directed at solving the problem of providing more wireless communications capabilities without any increase in allocated spectrum. One significant result of this research has been the development of algorithms targeted at transmitters and receivers equipped with multiple antennas, often described as multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) systems. We describe in this paper a FPGA-based platform designed to explore MIMO algorithms and architectures in real hardware. This system utilizes Xilinx?s System Generator for DSP, a Simulink blockset designed to allow both PC-based simulation and FPGA implementation of DSP designs. MIMO algorithms implemented in System Generator are targeted to FPGA systems connected to 2.4 GHz spread spectrum radios. These radios are interconnected via a pair of Spirent RF channel emulators and can realize a variety of transmitter and receiver configurations. The use of FPGAs as baseband processors allows a great deal of flexibility in implementing designs while maintaining the capability to measure the resource utilization and power consumption of real hardware. Such measurements play a crucial role in evaluating the suitability of algorithms for deployment in real-world systems.