FORTE – Facility for Over-the-Air Research and Testing

Außenansicht der FORTE-Testanlage in Ilmenau
© Photo Fraunhofer IIS/Christoph Gorke

FORTE in Ilmenau, Germany, is a testbed for SatCom on the Move systems (FORTE SatCom).

The testbed also serves for testing terrestrial radio systems in a virtual electromagnetic environment (OTAinVEE).

 

FORTE SatCom

Testbed for SatCom on the Move

FORTE

Facility for Over-the-Air Research and Testing

 

FORTE OTAinVEE

Over-the-air testing in a virtual electromagnetic environment

Reference projects

Using passive radar for cooperative perception and situation recognition in mobility and logistics (KoSiMolo)

The fifth-generation public mobile networks of tomorrow, or 5G networks, will play a key role in the digitalization of intelligent transportation systems, mobility and logistics. This project aims to develop pioneering principles for cooperative passive-radar sensor technology, which will then help better protect road users and enhance safety in logistics systems. This takes advantage of the extensive and innovative potential of 5G such as short latency and great flexibility in the allocation of radio resources as well as new data services, such as mobile edge computing. As passive radar does not require any new frequencies, this principle can be seen as a resource-sparing green technology.

Supported by the Free State of Thuringia and the European Social Fund

Virtual electromagnetic environment for testing and developing wireless systems (VEUSys)

This project seeks to expand an existing device infrastructure at the Facility for Over-the-air Research and TEsting (FORTE). The project purpose is testing wireless systems via the air interface in a virtual electromagnetic environment, which should make it possible to emulate any radio applications between just a few Mhz and 6 Ghz under realistic wave-propagation conditions in a reproducible and controlled manner.

With the number and complexity of application scenarios for wireless systems increasing, open-area testing is often cost-intensive and/or not permitted due to regulatory restrictions – such as frequency regulation or very limited opportunities for autonomous driving in test mode. The VEUSys testing system can be used for mobile networks (4G, 5G) and satellite navigation (GPS, Galileo) as well as vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure and industry communication.

Modular signal processing platform for mobile communications and mobile-sensor technology (RadioLab)

The purpose of this project is the purchase and activation of a signal-processing platform for applications related to mobile communications and wireless sensors. The large-scale unit to be purchased must be capable of acquiring and generating HF signals in a variable frequency range up to 20 GHz and with a bandwidth up to 800 MHz. Multiple transmit and receive channels support modern principles of multi-antenna MIMO (multiple input and multiple output). The available FPGA processing power facilitates programmable signal processing in real time.

Designed primarily for applications in channel sounding, MIMO mobile communication, wireless localization, and radar-sensor technology, the unit will make it possible to demonstrate principles of signal processing that will become especially important within the context of the fifth-generation mobile communications standard of tomorrow.

New building in Ilmenau

Neubau Ilmenau
© Photo Beeg Lemke Architekten GmbH

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has been expanding its research facilities at the “Am Vogelherd” industrial park in Ilmenau since summer 2016.

The Fraunhofer IIS Wireless Distribution Systems (DVT) Department and the Advanced System Technology (AST) Branch of Fraunhofer IOSB are erecting a joint research facility on the premises. The building, with its open design, will be discreetly integrated into the local surroundings and will serve to attract residents, business guests, tourists and public officials to this part of the city.

The new building will intensify cooperation between the two research institutes, permit joint developments that will open up new markets and make it possible to create a research network with unique services.

The four-story facility, which boasts 3,400-square-meters of office, laboratory and training space, will be home to 212 employees. The 18,000-square-meter property offers room for future expansion. Construction costs are estimated at €25 million, of which 40 percent (€10 million) stems from the EFRE (European Regional Development Fund), 30 percent (€7.5 million) from the government of Thuringia and 30 percent (€7.5 million) from the federal government's basic fund for research institutes.