Big Radio

Brought to you by The Radio Technology Group

One could be forgiven for assuming that radio communications research today focuses on 5G, ultra-fast Wi-Fi, and other techniques where bandwidths increase, frequencies rise, and cells get ever smaller.

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About the event

Big Radio is the exploration of how radio technology, applying the latest RF circuit techniques and advanced digital processing, can allow us to communicate ever more effectively using less spectrum and lower power to cover huge areas, and probe the furthest limits of the universe.

You can follow @cambwireless on Twitter and tweet about this event using #CWRadioTech.

Sponsored by Rohde and Schwarz

Rohde & Schwarz is one of the world's leading manufacturers of information and communications technology products for professional users.

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The information supplied below may be subject to change before the event.


Registration and networking over lunch


Introduction to Radio Technology SIG from John Haine, University of Bristol


Welcome from Adrian Woolard, Head of R&D North Lab, BBC


Welcome from Alison Barber, Account Manager, Rohde & Schwarz


Multi-octave radio frequency systems: Developments in antenna technology in radio astronomy and imaging systems; Anthony Brown, Professor of Communication Engineering, University of Manchester

Research in radio astronomy instrumentation and related imaging systems is causing the development of extremely wide bandwidth antenna technologies suitable for large scale deployment. This talk discusses some of these solutions, including the overall system designs using digital beamforming techniques to produce multiple simultaneous high gain beams to provide a wide field of view with high sensitivity and dual polarisation capability.




An Adaptive Broadcast System for the UK Digital TV Network; Peter Bagot, Research Associate, University of Bristol

Adaptive TV broadcast is a way of further improving the energy efficiency of broadcast TV by adapting the broadcast powers and beam patterns based on user feedback. Here, a distributed monitoring network consisting of user TVs and professionally run calibrated nodes would feedback Quality of Service data to the broadcaster in order to build up a more accurate view of the coverage and field strengths. Based on this information, beamforming techniques can be used to adapt the broadcast powers to provide the most energy efficient solution.




Real-time Experiments using a 128-antenna Massive MIMO Testbed; Paul Harris, Wireless Communications Researcher, University of Bristol

In a recent collaborative experimental trial with Lund University using the Bristol is Open 128-antenna massive MIMO tesbed, 22 users were served on the same time-frequency resource in an indoor atrium environment. Utilising an asymmetric frame schedule, this equates to a spectral efficiency figure of 145.6 bits/s/Hz. This talk will provide an overview of the massive MIMO testbed design, recent experimental trials and some initial results




Refreshments and networking


A brave new world for Satcom terminals; Paul Winter, Programme Manager and RF engineer, TTP

Satcom data and voice terminals are undergoing a revolution in design and integration in a bid to access new markets and onboard more subscribers. The design of a lightweight, low cost, low power terminal that can talk to a base station thousands of kilometres away, whilst meeting regulatory requirements is a tough challenge. This talk will focus on the key technical issues at system architecture and component level highlighting areas where the industry needs to respond if we are to disrupt the market and generate new products and services.




Scalable, Decentralised and Distributed Massive MIMO for Massive Wireless Connectivity; Gerard Borg, Research Scientist and Lecturer, Australian National University

In cellular networks, both the mobile wireless spectrum and the connection from the base station to the backhaul are shared between hundreds of clients in a cell. This approach can never be scalable or spectrally efficient. Cellular roll-outs to remote areas will normally be uneconomical: especially in developing countries. If our aim is to bring broadband to the unconnected who are living in regional / remote areas, then a different approach is required. We propose a novel wireless access network based on a scalable, distributed and decentralised massive MIMO architecture. This network can be deployed cost-effectively by successively connecting base stations to a broadband IP point-of-interconnect as clients are added to the network. Long range links requiring sub-GHz bands can be economically deployed and can provide each client with full access to the wireless spectrum and a dedicated connection to the backhaul. Given the increasing numbers of urban and regional townships connected to fibre, such an approach could empower local communities to wirelessly extend their networks to isolated populations.




Panel session with all speakers chaired by SIG Champion, John Haine, University of Bristol


Event closes


Peter Bagot - Research Associate, University of Bristol

Gerard Borg - Research Scientist, Australian National University

Anthony Brown - Professor of Communication Engineering, School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, (University of Manchester)

Professor Anthony Brown (University of Manchester)

Paul Harris - Wireless Communications Researcher , University of Bristol

Paul Winter - Senior RF Consultant, TTP plc

Paul Winter is a programme manager and RF engineer in the Communications and Wireless group at TTP. He has led numerous projects in commercial, industrial and healthcare sectors developing connected devices and precision instrumentation. Paul has a heritage in developing products integrating multiple wireless standards including GPS, GPRS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and proprietary ISM band radios, deployed within multi-sensor systems for in-home and on-body applications, often coupled to 'Cloud' based analysis and visualisation services. In healthcare Paul has applied aspects of wireless, antennas and electronics to a number of medical devices including inhalers, glucose testing and point of care diagnostic instruments. Paul has also led several incubation projects for TTP's Carbon Trust Incubator, covering a wide range of cutting edge technologies. Paul joined TTP in 2006; prior to this he worked as a radio engineer for Global Communications developing high volume consumer in-home satellite and digital TV distribution equipment, as well as portable equipment for the 'on-location' broadcasting industry. Paul has a Masters degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from the University of Wales, Cardiff. He is a member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, the Royal Academy of Engineering and is a Charted Engineer.

SIG Champions

Mark Beach - Professor of Radio Systems Engineering, University of Bristol (Communication Systems & Networks Research Group)

Mark Beach received his PhD for research addressing the application of Smart Antenna techniques to GPS from the University of Bristol in 1989, where he subsequently joined as a member of academic staff. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1996, Reader in 1998 and Professor in 2003. He was Head of the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering from 2006 to 2010, then spearheaded Bristol’s hosting of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Communications. He is the Co-Director of this centre. He leads research in the field of enabling technologies for the delivery of 5G and beyond wireless connectivity; which includes the recent award of an EPSRC Prosperity Partnership in the field of Secure Wireless Agile Networks (SWAN). Mark’s current research activities are delivered through the Communication Systems and Networks Group, forming a key component within Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab. He has over 30 years of physical layer wireless research embracing the application of Spread Spectrum technology for cellular systems, adaptive or smart antenna for capacity and range extension in wireless networks, MIMO aided connectivity for through-put enhancement, experimental evaluation and optimization of Massive MIMO, Millimetre Wave technologies as well as flexible RF technologies for SDR modems. With a strong industrially focused research portfolio, he is also the School Research Impact Director.

Brian Collins - Managing Consultant, BSC Associates

Brian has designed antennas for applications including radio and TV broadcasting, base stations, handsets and consumer products, and has operated his own consultancy firm for the last 12 years. He has published more than 70 papers on antenna topics and contributed chapters to several recent textbooks. He operates a small consultancy company, chairs the Antenna Interface Standards Group and is an Honorary Visiting Professor in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London.

Paul Harris - Principal Wireless Architect, VIAVI Solutions

Paul is a wireless technology expert with experience across a range of areas including research, design, implementation and standardisation. He received his PhD from the University of Bristol for evaluating the performance of massive MIMO technology in the lead-up to 5G and is currently a Principal Wireless Architect within the CTO Office at VIAVI Solutions providing thought leadership on new and emerging technologies for 5G, 6G and beyond. In line with this he represents VIAVI within a range of bodies and fora including 3GPP, the O-RAN Alliance, ETSI, the Next G Alliance, the 6G-IA and the UKTIN. His experience prior to joining VIAVI includes representing Vodafone within 3GPP for radio performance aspects, contributing to the development of massive MIMO channel estimation solutions at Cohere Technologies, and working with customers as a domain expert at National Instruments to establish effective research solutions using software-defined radio. He is also a Chartered Engineer, Senior Member of the IEEE, Fellow of the ITP, and an Honorary Industrial Fellow at the University of Bristol.

Peter Kibutu - 5G NTN Market lead, TTP plc

Peter has been working in the cellular industry for over 15 years, specialising in modem system architecture and physical layer development. Before joining TTP, Peter worked in the development of 2G/3G/4G wireless modem products and small-cell base station projects for a number of leading cellular equipment vendors. At TTP Peter has worked with a wide range of clients in the satellite and cellular communication domains, specialising in end-to-end system engineering, modem system development and advising on commercial aspects. Currently Peter is the TTP technical lead for 5G/6G activities and represents the company in range of industry bodies including 3GPP and UKTIN.

Peter Topham - Principal Engineer, Qualcomm Technologies International

Peter has more than 30 years experience of RF and high-speed circuit design, taking chips into production ranging from FM Band II through cellular, Bluetooth and on to UWB at 10GHz. He has been with Qualcomm for 7 years, specialising in low-power RF design for portable and wearable products.

Event Location

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Location info

BBC, MediaCityUK, Dock House, Salford Quays, Salford M50 2BH

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