mm-FLEX: An Open Platform for Millimeter-Wave Mobile Full-Bandwidth Experimentation
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Millimeter-Wave (mm-wave) technology is increasingly being considered for mobile devices and use cases such as vehicular communication. This requires suitable experimentation platforms to support systems-oriented research to tackle the multitude of problems and challenges of mm-wave communications in such environments. To this end, we introduce mm-FLEX, a flexible and modular open platform with real-time signal processing capabilities that supports a bandwidth of 2 GHz and is compatible with mm-wave standard requirements. mm-FLEX integrates an FPGA-based baseband processor with full-duplex capabilities together with mm-wave RF front-ends and phased antenna arrays that are fully configurable from the processor in real-time. To demonstrate the capabilities of mm-FLEX, we implement a scalable, ultra fast beam alignment mechanism for IEEE 802.11ad systems. It is based on compressive estimation of the signal’s angle-of-arrival by means of switching through multiple receive beam patterns on a nano-second timescale while receiving a packet preamble. Our implementation is open source and is made publicly available to the research community.