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Bristol student reaches final of the 2016 IET Innovation Awards

Paul Harris, postgraduate student from the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Communications National Instruments

Press release issued: 12 October 2016

A postgraduate student from the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Communications at the University of Bristol has been selected as a finalist in the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Innovation Awards.

Paul Harris has been announced as a finalist by the IET for their 2016 Innovation Awards.

Following entries from 25 countries in the 15 award categories, Paul was shortlisted for the Communications award in recognition of his world record achievement in 5G wireless spectrum efficiency using Massive MIMO.

Together with academics from the Communication Systems and Networks Research Group at Bristol, his fellow postgraduates researching Massive MIMO at Bristol and a strong collaboration with the University of Lund (Sweden), the team has demonstrated that this technology can offer unprecedented gains in Spectrum Efficiency for future wireless systems such as 5G.

The hardware behind this demonstration was provided to the University as part of Bristol Is Open, a joint venture with Bristol City Council that aims to become the world’s first Open Programmable City.  The team used a National Instruments (NI) flexible prototyping platform based on LabVIEW system design software and PXI hardware.

Mark Beach, Professor of Radio Systems Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Manager of the EPSRC CDT in Communications, said: “This nomination truly testifies Paul’s technical prowess and the benefits of our enterprise training alongside his deep commitment to become a future leader in the field of wireless communications.”

Professor Andrew Nix, Dean of Engineering and Head of the Communication Systems and Networks Research Group, said: “We are justifiably proud of Paul and his postgraduate colleagues at Bristol and Lund Universities, as well as the support from National Instruments, including the student secondments in Austin. Our strong and meaningful collaborations made a demonstration at this scale possible and justifies further investment in Massive MIMO as a key enabler in 5G wireless connectivity.”

Paul will join other finalists in London on Wednesday 16 November, at an awards dinner and ceremony.  Rob Bell, presenter of Underground Britain and Engineering Giants, will announce the winners.

Further information

The YouTube video shows the first real-time Massive MIMO communication tests with mobile users in an outdoor environment.  The tests were performed at Lund University in late August 2016, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Bristol.

Using Lund’s 100-antenna testbed, the research team served ten mobile users simultaneously in the same bandwidth and achieved a ten-fold increase in data rate compared to a traditional single (LTE-like) channel. Tests were performed with six slowly moving terminals (pedestrian speed) and four car-mounted terminals, moving up to 50 km/h. The tests showed that a Massive MIMO system, with an LTE-like physical layer, can handle mobility up to at least 50 km/h. The confined space where the tests were performed (a closed-off parking lot) prevented the research team from reaching higher speeds.

About the IET
The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with over 167,000 members in 150 countries. It is also the most interdisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.

The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.

We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.

About the Communication Systems and Networks (CSN) Research Group
The CSN Research Group was formed in 1985 to address the research demands of the fixed and wireless communications sectors.  It combines fundamental academic research with a strong level of industrial application. The Group has well-equipped laboratories with state-of-the-art test and measurement equipment and first-class computational facilities. Recently the Group has joined forces with the University’s High Performance Networks (HPN) Group to form the Smart Internet Lab.

About the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Communications
The EPSRC CDT in Communications is a state-of-the-art environment for training postgraduates to lead innovative research, future product development and exploitation.

The Centre will help to build UK capability in communications engineering by addressing the skills shortage in the sector. It will focus on Future Communications: People, Power and Performance; while communications technology is the enabler, the Centre recognises that it is people who are the creators, consumers and beneficiaries in terms of its broader applications.

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