French programmer builds his own LTE base station

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Many carriers around the world are rolling out Long Term Evolution (LTE) services, but French computer programmer Fabrice Bellard has decided to make his own, with details on how he made it. “It simulates an LTE infrastructure, so it can work without a real LTE network behind it. In short, it is possible to use it like a Wifi access point,” Bellard said.

A lot of the details are highly technical, but the diagram above is a simplified version of what he did in order to create a base station at a fraction of the cost of what most major carriers are building them for. The table below lists what he used to create the base station.

PC Core i7 at 2.93 GHz.
Software radio frontend USRP N210 with the SBX daughterboard.
RF configuration Band 7 (2600 MHz FDD), 20 MHz bandwidth, single antenna.
User Equipment Huawei E398 USB dongle (Qualcomm MDM9200 chipset)
SIM card Anritsu Test USIM card

Bellard’s LTE base station recorded a downlink of 60 Mb/s and an uplink of 25 Mb/s, which is impressive given the fact that he isn’t using a real LTE network. He lists the advantages of his homemade LTE base station: “It’s a low cost LTE network simulator. Since everything runs on a PC, it is very easy to add and test new LTE features.”

He also states that it can be used for educational purposes, for configuring and running a base station as a way to learn many details of LTE, and as a basis of a low cost LTE network infrastructure for private or public networks.

For those who are interested in duplicating or improving on Bellard’s project, you can contact him for further information via his website.