ANR (French national research agency) Spatial Modulation: a broadband solution for connected objects in 5G

During the International IEEE Conference on Communications (icc2017.ieee-icc.org) in late May, the Spatial Modulation joint research project presented, to over 200 visitors, two demonstrators of wireless transmission using a very recent concept: Spatial Modulation. The two visual and intuitive demonstrations were greatly appreciated. They made it possible to explain and promote this new concept capable of providing broadband for connected objects in future 5G networks.

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The Spatial Modulation project, supported by the National Research Agency (ANR), was launched in January 2016. It is directed by Orange (Ms Dinh-Thuy PHAN-HUY) and includes INSA Rennes (National Institute of Applied Sciences), IMT Atlantique, the Langevin Institute, Centrale Supélec and ATOS. IMT Atlantique lends its experimental means and its expertise to the characterisation and modelisation of the MIMO broadband propagation channel

The project anticipates future developments in 5G networks, in particular the possibility of providing greater bandwidths to connected objects.  The challenge is to offer simple, affordable, energy efficient solutions which are compatible with small-sized objects such as reading glasses or board cameras.

To increase the bandwidth of this type of object without increasing either its size, its energy consumption or its cost, the project proposes moving the necessary complexity to the future 5G Massive MIMO base stations. To achieve this, the project is combining new transmission technology, spatial modulation and new antenna structures which are both compact and reconfigurable.  When emitting, with spatial modulation, the object is able to simultaneously transmit two streams of data while using only one radio transmission channel. The massive MIMO base station has a large number of antennae for easy detection of the two streams. When receiving, with spatial modulation the object can decipher two streams from the base station while retaining very low complexity through time reversal.

These technological innovations will make it possible for connected objects in future 5G networks to be simpler and smaller, while continuing to benefit from broadband transmission.

The project relies on compact antennae developed by the Langevin Institute, ATOS and Orange. It also uses a massive MIMO 3.7 GHz antenna developed by IMT Atlantique as part of a joint research project with Orange. The current goal of the project is to increase bandwidth and develop a real-time demonstrator. Spatial Modulation will be completed in 2019.

Patrice Pajusco (IMT Atlantique) with the “uplink” spatial modulation demonstrator
Yvan Kokar (INSA Rennes) with the "downlink” spatial modulation demonstrator

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Patrice Pajusco (IMT Atlantique) with the “uplink” spatial modulation demonstrator
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Yvan Kokar (INSA Rennes) with the "downlink” spatial modulation demonstrator

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Published on 22.06.2017

by Pierre-Hervé VAILLANT

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