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Implementation of the world’s first experimental, real-time SEFDM 5G Transceiver Prototype

Using LabVIEW – Video case study showcased by NI Labs

Billions of devices will soon be connected to the global Internet in line with the vision of the Internet of Things (IoT). This means 5G must make highly efficient use of the wireless spectrum. Spectrally efficient frequency division multiplexing (SEFDM), originally developed at UCL in 2003, has the potential to make better use of the spectrum through bandwidth compression, however at the cost of a higher level of interference. Now a team from the department’s Communication and Information Systems Group, lead by Professor Izzat Darwazeh, have created a real-time testbed, on an industrial platform, to allow the world to investigate SEFDM. Since 2003, SEFDM has been the focus of increased interest and now as we move towards 5G, more so than ever.

The group including PhD students Waseem Ozan and Hedaia Ghannam, postdoc Dr Paul Anthony Haigh and Teaching Fellow Dr Ryan Grammenos have demonstrated the world’s first real-time SEFDM system using USRP RIO and the LabVIEW Communications System Design Suite. The key innovation is in the deployment of a novel real-time channel estimation and equalisation algorithm, combined with a real-time iterative detector. Their system compresses transmitted signal bandwidths up to 60% (for BPSK) and 30% (for QPSK), offering significant bandwidth savings, thereby satisfying one of the key challenges of 5G deployment.


The group plan to make the code open source and available online so that the research, industrial and equipment manufacturer communities anywhere in the world can experiment with and develop the system and consider it for future standards. The designed and implemented system is fully interactive for different parameters, such as number of subcarriers, type of pilot symbols, and the compression factor (α) so that users can fully appreciate how the parameters will affect their designs. This will impact 5G research and other wireless systems, powering high-quality and high-bit-rate services in a reduced wireless spectrum, which can lower the cost of future systems.