Due to the complexity of multiple-input–multipleoutput (MIMO) wireless channels, direct measurement is the main viable option for accurate characterization. Details on a
new low-cost wideband channel sounder are presented, which was mainly constructed from conventional instruments and components.
This switched architecture system is similar to commercial channel sounders and has modest cost (< US$ 50 000). The sounder operates in the 2- to 8-GHz range with up to 100 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth and supports eight transmitters and receivers, which are sufficient to support the development and assessment of current and future MIMO wireless systems. In this “open-hardware” project, the hardware design and software components are openly available to other researchers interested in developing or enhancing the MIMO measurement capability.
The actual systems built at the University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa, and Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, are
presented, as are some example studies.