National Instruments’s PXIe-5831 vector signal transceiver (VST).

Collaboration between Eta Wireless and NI to improve the efficiency of 5G mmWave front-ends

  • NI announced its collaboration with Eta Wireless to implement and demonstrate full support of ETAdvanced, an Digital Envelope Tracking (ET) technology for mmWave 5G RF front-end devices.
  • Developed by Cambridge-based Eta Wireless, the technology enables extended battery life in smartphones, wearables, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, improving both data rates and connectivity range.

ETAdvanced addresses the power efficiency challenges that have historically plagued RF front-ends. Wideband power amplifiers (PAs), such as those found in 5G devices, waste a significant amount of power in the form of heat, greatly reducing battery life. ETAdvanced uses the signal’s envelope information to increase the amplifier’s efficiency by delivering only the power needed at that instant.

Full support of ETAdvanced was achieved using NI software-connected PXI systems, making possible a tightly synchronized combination of fine digital edge placement, as well as wideband 5G new radio (NR) generation and analysis with the mmWave Vector Signal Transceiver (VST).

These technologies helped Eta Wireless demonstrate a data rate improvement of 3X and the doubling of the PA’s output power, addressing core power and thermal problems of 5G mmWave deployments. The increase in range and throughput for a given power budget makes, according to NI, ETAdvanced technology a key enabler for mmWave 5G radios.

“NI’s PXI-based solution for RF and digital signal generation extracts peak performance of ETAdvanced technology in the lab setting. NI’s support for Digital ET will help mobile device companies accelerate mmWave deployments and provide end customers with a superior user experience,” said John Hoversten, chief technology officer and founder of Eta Wireless. “We are pleased to see the front-end ecosystem converging to Digital ET, which helps extend much needed battery life for the mobile user while delivering on the 5G promises of greater connectivity and higher bandwidth.”