Engineers at the University of Bristol have developed software to speed up the design of tuneable wireless devices that will enable the next generation of 5G smartphones to roam internationally.

“Bristol’s new tool will speed up the design of antennas, filters and amplifiers used in smartphones”


The research, in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, is addressing the simultaneous multi-band operation of wireless systems through the co-design of both hardware and software sub-systems.  The work is part of the Frequency Agile RADio (FARAD) project that aims to develop highly linear frequency agile transceivers that are both energy efficient and cost effective for 5G and beyond.

Everyone wants their phone to offer higher data rates and work seamlessly throughout the world, but because of the different frequency channels this isn’t always possible. The tool helps chip designers produce more efficient tuneable radio chips and the software to control them. The University of Bristol is one of the leading global research centres for 5G wireless technology.

Overcoming antennae design challenges

“For smartphones to operate globally, phones need to tune or switch bands, ideally without compromising performance,” said Dr Eyad Arabi, Research Associate in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Bristol. “Such frequency agility poses tough design challenges due to the increased complexity and physical size of the tuneable system. At Bristol, we have developed a novel radio frequency (RF) design methodology that will ensure the efficient design of tuneable wireless devices.”

“For efficient RF design an understanding of the electrical dynamics of the tuneable components is essential. Bristol’s new tool will allow the designer to visualise the tuning range or coverage of the tuneable components, speeding up the design of antennas, filters and amplifiers used in smartphones,” said Mark Beach, Professor of Radio Systems Engineering in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

There is more about the Farad project here