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Fifth-generation cellular networks and devices are still in the early stages of their launch across the world, but research on the next generation – 6G – is already underway. Today, researchers at the University of California, Irvine’s Nanoscale Communication Integrated Circuits Labs announcement that they created a tiny radio chip capable of sending and receiving data in the 100 GHz frequency range, which should be the basis for future 6G communication standards.
Although it seems early to discuss 6G, leading wireless researchers in the United States, Finland and South Korea have been focusing on the potential of the âsubmillimeter waveâ spectrum for about a year; the FCC opened a 95 GHz to 3 THz spectrum band for testing in March. Thanks to their unique characteristics and the absence of competing uses of the same spectra, ultra-high frequency radio signals are expected to transport almost inconceivable amounts of data quickly – enough to transmit computing power to the human brain from servers to servers. handheld devices in real time.
Currently in prototype form, the UCI’s invention is a 4.4 square millimeter transceiver that operates between 115 and 135 GHz frequencies, achieving a data rate of 36 gigabits per second at distances of 30 centimeters (about one foot). The prototype consumes just over 200mW of power, including the necessary receiving and demodulation hardware, using a new approach to data processing. In contrast, the latest 5G millimeter wave chips use smaller chunks of spectrum from 24 to 39 GHz and achieve peak data rates in the below 6 Gbps range, albeit at considerably greater distances.
âWe call our chip ‘beyond 5G’ because the combined speed and data rate that we can achieve is two orders of magnitude greater than the capacity of the new wireless standard,â explained Payam Heydari, professor. of electrical engineering and computer science at the UCI. “[O]operating at a higher frequency means you and I and everyone else can benefit from more of the bandwidth offered by carriers. Hossein Mohammadnezhad, lead author of the academic article announcing the project, says that “the new transceiver is the first to provide end-to-end capabilities in this part of the spectrum”.
The researchers were assisted by TowerJazz and STMicroelectronics to manufacture the chips for the project, and they expect the technology to have uses outside of portable electronics. In combination with the right beamforming antennas, they expect it to eliminate the need for fiber optic cables, reducing hardware, cooling and power costs. Similar technology will also help next-generation autonomous vehicles and enable even more powerful broadband services.
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