Visualisation of RF Spectral Waves

Visualising how handsets connect to the 5G network / Understanding how radio waves interact with the city / Challenges of exploiting 5G millimetre wave bands

Layered Realities Weekend - A 5G Showcase

Over the weekend of 17th - 18th March 2018, the University of Bristol's Smart Internet Lab hosted the world's first 5G public showcase in Millennium Square, Bristol. Demonstrations, talks and artistic experimentation combined in an exciting blend of technology and expression. This event ran in conjunction with Watershed & We The Curious.

Photo Credit: Kaleider's - 'From The Light Of Fire, Our Dancing Shadows'

Software tools developed at the University of Bristol can estimate how radio signals travel from 5G basestations to your mobile device. By using ultra-high resolution 3D city maps, these new tools will ensure 5G coverage is optimised throughout the city. 

A member of the Visualisation of RF Spectrum Waves team at the Layered Realities event in March 2018


Technical Description

Radio waves scatter off buildings and bend around corners depending on their carrier frequency. The University of Bristol is a world leader in the modelling of radiowave propagation. Today all cellular and Wi-Fi services operate at frequencies below 6GHz. One of the innovations in 5G is the introduction of new ‘millimeter wave’ bands at 26GHz and 60GHz. These introduce significant new challenges in terms of electromagnetic modelling. At such high frequencies the surfaces of buildings become ‘electrically rough’ and this scatters the radio signals in all directions. Using ultra-high resolution 3D city models (obtained by laser scanning from drone and/or aircraft platforms), it is possible to predict how these radiowaves travel from 5G basestations to your mobile device. The tools in development in the labs at Bristol will be used to support the 5G network planning process, ensuring appropriate services are delivered as required throughout the city. 

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