5G Massive MIMO Reference Design

RF DSP provides a wide-bandwidth high-performance White-Box 5G Hardware platform that is scalable from 4T4R 5G Small Cells to 5G Massive MIMO with sub 6GHz RF or millimeter wave IF. This innovative White-Box 5G hardware is modularized and remotely-programmable with a 100Gb full mesh backplane and hot-swappable blades including a MIMO RU blade (16T16R per blade) which can be configured with single or dual Xilinx Virtex UltraScale+ devices to support up to 10TMACs and 100MHz through 400MHz 5G NR signal bandwidth with contiguous carrier aggregation to over 1GHz using RF DSP’s advanced DSP algorithms. The architecture can make use a wide range of CPU server blades, GPU blades and storage blades to support baseband processing and Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) in a single box.

In addition to being a White-Box 5G MIMO base station hardware platform, RF DSP developed the system to support general purpose wideband massive MIMO software defined radios, multi-channel RF playback and recording, massive multi-channel data acquisition system, and end-to-end 5G MIMO development, including 16 to 128-channel 5G signal generator and analyzer, and MIMO RF channel emulator to support 5G NR BS and UE conformance testing, and the world’s only 64×16 MU-MIMO RF channel emulator supporting 5G MIMO base station development, testing and optimization.


  • Extensive Platform Development Kit to Enable fast time to market
  • FPGA reference design with JESD204B and driver supporting quad ADRV9009
  • Configuration, control and status monitoring including TDD/FDD modes, SPI, clock sync
  • DSP design to enable 400MHz and wider bandwidth 5G NR signals
  • Playback and recording
  • MATLAB development environment, PC software and Linux scripts
  • FPGA design and IP for PRACH filtering, MU-MIMO channel estimation, digital beamforming, O-RAN open fronthaul interface with eCPRI/RoE encapsulation, FFT/IFFT, MIMO calibration and phase alignment of all Tx and Rx paths
  • End-to-end 5G testing solutions and MATALB simulation reference for system verification for both DL and UL

Wideband High-Performance White-Box Platform

  • Customizable single-box solution to support integrated CU+DU+Mobile Edge Computing (MEC), or flexible CU, DU and RU split, including O-RAN compliant low PHY split
  • Supports 100MHz to 400MHz 5G NR signal bandwidth and contiguous carrier aggregation to over 1GHz using RF DSP’s patent-pending DSP algorithms
  • High-performance RF with TDD and FDD modes using Analog Devices ADRV9009
  • Scalable from 4T4R 5G Small Cells to 64T64R and 128T128R 5G Massive MIMO gNB
  • Selection of single, dual and quad-Xeon blades and GPU blades to support full base station implementation and MEC in the same box
  • Modularized and hot-swappable, FPGAs remotely-programmable over network
  • Enormous bandwidth within blade and among blades over full mesh 100Gb backplane
  • External interfaces of multiple 100Gb and 40Gb Ethernet, and PCIe Gen. 4
  • 12,000 or 24,000 DSP slices using single or dual Xilinx UltraScale+ Virtex FPGA per blade

Built-in enhanced-MIMO support

  • Essential for enhanced performance of massive MIMO, scalable to 128T128R
  • Built-in GPS, external 1pps and 10Mhz reference, clock distribution and sync
  • Built-in MIMO calibration circuits for phase alignment of all Tx and Rx paths
  • Minimized end-to-end jitter and phase noise variation among RF ports

RF Frontend and DPD Support

  • Observation Rx ports for RF frontend DPD
  • Digital interface to control RF frontend and calibration of MIMO antenna arrays

Customization and Design Services

  • RF DSP provides design services to customize all aspects of the system, including RF frontend, interfaces and form factor for field deployment

Dr. Chih-Lin I, Technical Steering Committee (TSC) Co-Chair of the O-RAN Alliance: “I am pleased that RF DSP is building white-box hardware in support of O-RAN’s vision. The features of modularity, scalability, hot-swapability, remote-programmability, and support of 100MHz to 400MHz 5G NR bandwidth with contiguous carrier aggregation are important requirements for 5G hardware developing platform. It can accelerate the development of the white-box base station hardware. Also the proffer of FPGA codes and IP is very important for the feasibility of the software function of 5G white-box base station.”

Farhad Shafai, vice president, Communications Markets, Xilinx.: “The 5G infrastructure market is driving innovation and we are pleased that RF DSP has selected our market-leading Virtex UltraScale+ device as the main 5G engine of its platform to provide the massive DSP power and compute needed in its 5G white-box hardware platform. The full-mesh backplane which interconnects up to 24 UltraScale+ Virtex FPGAs shines the spotlight on the superior high-speed SERDES technology and DSP power in our UltraScale+ family.”

The current platform uses industry-standard ATCA chassis an 100Gb full-mesh backplane that offers many technical advantages for system development and testing that can be made available now, including a wide selection of computing blades and storage blades. RF DSP supports the customization of the hardware platform to other form factors for field deployment.

By selecting the type and number of blades, the White-Box 5G Hardware platform can be configured as DU+RU, DU+RU+MEC, or low PHY split O-RAN O-RU. RF DSP will also provide FPGA codes, IP and design services to implement O-RAN open Front Haul interface (with e.g. eCPRI/RoE encapsulation), FFT/IFFT, PRACH filtering, MU-MIMO channel estimation and digital beamforming, MIMO calibration and antenna phase alignment. With a single MIMO RU blade and a single general-purpose computing blade, the system provides a 5G NR small cell that can be configured as a single sector of 16T16R, two sectors of 8T8R, four sectors of 4T4R or other field-configurable MIMO options. With 8 MIMO RU blades and a number of general-purpose computing blades, the system provides a 128T128R massive MIMO 5G macro cell gNB. In all cases, built-in calibration circuits and algorithms support phase alignment of all RF ports that is necessary for enhanced MU-MIMO performance of MIMO. The platform has a built-in GPS and can accept external 1pps and radio frame clock, minimizes end-to-end jitter and phase noise variation among RF ports. It also provides a digital interface to control RF frontend and calibration of MIMO antenna arrays.

Questions? Contact us by email or phone for technical support, prices and custom design services.