Wireless Communications

Technologies enabling the next generation of communications networks

From 5G to IoT

5G New Radio (NR) networks represent the next milestone in mobile communications. They will target more traffic, increased capacity, and reduced latency and energy consumption via massive multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) and beam-forming antenna arrays, millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum use, and carrier aggregation (CA). 5G networks will usher in new connections to internet-of-things (IoT) networks, autonomous driving, broadband-fixed wireless, and faster video downloading. NI AWR software helps engineers develop these technologies that make advancement possible. 


Address the challenges of designing components and systems employing new bands, wider bandwidths, and new beam-forming technology with state-of-the-art simulation software.


Adapt to future requirements with a design software platform that is continually being updated in support of the latest communications standards and practices.


Perform virtual prototyping of next-generation wireless systems, from the next 802.11 revision to 5G, with versatile intelligent models that save critical product development time.

Industry Segments


NI AWR software supports Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Release 15 specifications, enabling designers to fully characterize and verify 5G NR design performance and accelerate physical layer 1 (PHY1) development, specifically integrating waveform generation and analysis with simulation. The software supports variable numerology, uplink/downlink measurements, CA, channel coding, MIMO/phased array beam-steering antenna system design, channels, and multi-antenna transmission to fully characterized end-to-end communication systems.


Among the cellular-based IoT technologies under consideration, narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) represents a promising low-power wide-area network (WAN) radio technology, connecting a wide range of devices and services using cellular telecommunications bands. NB-IoT will enable operators to expand wireless capabilities for evolving businesses for smart metering and tracking and will open more industry opportunities, such as Smart City and eHealth infrastructure. NI AWR design software supports the simulation of NB-IoT and LTE coexistence in different operating scenarios, enabling companies engaged in 3GPP standardization and product development to study in-band and guard-band operation modes.


End nodes for implanted medical devices and hard-to-service, remote sensors rely on Wi-Fi and gateways to aggregate traffic from lower power networks onto higher capacity networks in order to reduce power consumption and extend battery lifetimes. Due to massive scaling of heterogeneous wireless technologies, these networks face spectral interference challenges requiring special attention to the design of the IoT devices. In addition to network requirements and regulatory standards, front-end module and antenna designers must take into account physical and electrical considerations.  With the adoption of printed antennas and multiple integrated radios within smart devices, simulation software is critical for optimizing transceiver design, antenna match, efficiency, and radiation patterns.


NI AWR design software enables RF/analog engineers to effortlessly evaluate LTE, commonly known as 4G, and readily explore their designs from concept through to final prototype board with accurate models and system simulation technology. Designers can verify the error-vector magnitude (EVM) and adjacent-channel leakage-ratio (ACLR) performance of the entire RF front end or monitor the combination of an isolated component to the overall measurement. They can measure EVM over an orthagonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) symbol or of individual subcarriers, and/or interchange off-the-shelf components with various device models at each stage of the design process.

Wireless Communication Systems

Wi-Fi base stations, Bluetooth devices, and broadcast telecommunications equipment continue to provide market opportunities for manufacturers. NI AWR software provides simulation models and waveform structures that support the most popular wireless standards, including DVB-H/DVB-T, WiMAX/ 802.16d-2004/802.16e-2005 (mobile and fixed), CDMA2000, GSM/EDGE, WLAN/802.11a/b/g and 802.11ac, 3G WCDMA FDD, IS95, and more.

Case Studies

Expedite Development

MaXentric Technologies, a specialty R&D firm serving the defense and commercial telecommunication markets, designed and optimized its envelope-tracking power amplifier (ETPA) for LTE-A applications with a combined design and test solution from NI. Designers used Microwave Office circuit design software and AXIEM planar electromagnetic (EM) simulator to tune and optimize the ETPA impedance-matching network, as well as the NI vector signal transceiver (VST) for RF signal generation and the NI arbitrary waveform generator (AWG) for envelope-signal generation.

Innovate Faster

Designers must be able to quickly configure planar phased-array or MIMO array systems, interactively modify the designs to achieve the desired behavior, and generate system diagrams and/or circuit schematics and EM structures for further, more rigorous analysis. Tools from NI AWR software support interactive specification of the layout, feed network settings, element antenna and RF link settings, gain tapers, and element failures.