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Taking the Next Step in 5G: imec’s Flexible Beamforming 60GHz Radio Prototype

Wireless communication is driven by consumers’ desire for faster access to ever more information, always and everywhere. To support this desire, mobile networks will be more densely deployed and will need to accommodate higher data rates.

Current wireless technologies, however, hamper this evolution because they offer limited throughput while being latency-sensitive. Moreover, the spectrum at current frequency bands will become overcrowded and congested.

Mm-wave technology could provide a solution here, as it supports high-rate, low-latency wireless links for both transport and access networking. The spectrum around 60GHz is very attractive because it is globally available for unlicensed wireless communication. At 60GHz, the propagation characteristics demand directional beamforming to overcome the high atmospheric absorption and the limited driver capabilities of the hardware.  Such beamforming, automatically enables large spatial reuse and low interference, while offering increased data security.

In this demo, imec presents its solution to overcome the limitations of operating in a dynamic wireless environment (with on-the-fly obstructions and moving terminals): a 60GHz radio prototype, comprising a custom-designed phased-array transceiver RFIC and a digital baseband implementation. The prototype offers advanced flexibility in beam steering and beam shaping to quickly recover from on-the-fly-obstruction (humans, objects, materials, …) of the wireless link.

 

Copyright imec 2017