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A digital system to emulate wireless networks

A digital system to emulate wireless networks

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Evaluation of network protocols and validation of communications-related hardware blocks, like filters or error correction codes, require complex testbench set-ups for real measurements in wireless network systems. Real tests involve costly logistics and instrumentation, while simulation-based approaches may be too slow for long tests. In this paper, the authors present a methodology based on a configurable digital intellectual property (IP) module that performs transmissions at bit-level, emulating the behaviour of a wireless network, allowing, in many cases, the emulation of a complete system on a field programmable gate array (FPGA). The emulation-based system was used to test the integration and performance evaluation of forward error correction (FEC) processing blocks, like Viterbi, and emulated results were compared against Matlab simulations and real laboratory RF measurements. A brief discussion about these three main approaches is presented. Methodology considerations and use cases are included.

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