Wireless networks have been pressed to rapidly evolve as ever greater numbers of subscribers utilize mobile devices to transmit an increasing volume of data. In fact, Cisco projects the number of mobile-connected devices, driven by a combination of personal devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, will exceed the world’s population by the end of this year and that mobile data traffic will expand at a CAGR of 66% through 2017.
Technologies such as Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) and other multiple antenna techniques have emerged in response to this increased demand for wireless network throughput. MIMO systems employ multiple antennas at both the transmitter and receiver end of the communication system. This approach considerably improves performance, providing higher data rates while maintaining spectral efficiency. However, a price paid for these advances is greater system complexity facing embedded engineers tasked with designing the networks.
Accurate design of the wireless communications channel is key to optimizing network system performance. This requires consideration of a large number of variables and is a challenge well suited to software-based modeling tools. VDC Research has spoken with leading suppliers of commercially available modeling tools as we update our coverage of Software and System Lifecycle Management solutions for 2013. These conversations have revealed a growing interest in system design tools within the communications market.
Suppliers are responding to this demand. For example this week, MathWorks announced software enhancements to the Phased Array System Toolbox and SimRF to enable wireless communications and radar system designers to speed up modeling and simulation within the MATLAB and Simulink environments. Going forward, telecommunications engineers will increasingly leverage software and systems modeling tools as they design the complex next-generation networks of tomorrow.