The Information Age Engine
The history of technology has been shaped by innovative tools that have radically changed the way we live, work and interact socially.
From the steam and water motors of the first industrial revolution to the microprocessor trademarks of the digital revolution to the information age in which the radio spectrum is used as a vehicle for the transmission of data and energy – every era has developed its motors to transform material . Energy and finally – knowledge and information.
On the way to the next wireless industrial revolution, the radio spectrum is a key element within the information age engine.
The need for information
There is no doubt that information technology has a huge impact on the way we communicate, learn and think.
Immediate and everywhere access to information plays an important role in everyday life. Especially now in times of a pandemic, our trust in this technology is growing even further.
Internet traffic increased by almost 40% between February and April 2020, Cellular network traffic by 50%, and there is no evidence of it Trend will soon slow down.
Information connects people, but also objects. The forecast shows that by 2023 more than 29 billion networked devices will be networked with M2M (machine-to-machine). Connections that make up half the total. This type of communication must be based on a very high transmission speed and low latency in order to enable business-critical applications.
Self-driving cars and advanced driver assistance systems are excellent examples of the importance of transmission speed and latency. When it comes to connected driving, data needs to be transmitted and analyzed in real time, as decisions have to be made in fractions of a second so that the vehicle can stop before it hits an obstacle or to ensure passenger safety. A high transmission speed can save lives and make driving safer.
Move to mmWave
The radio spectrum span is part of the electromagnetic spectrum with a frequency of 30 to 300 GHz. Until recently, the frequencies used for communication purposes were limited to the microwave band, which is typically defined for the range from 3 to 30 GHz. The majority of commercial wireless networks use the lower part of this band – between 800 MHz and 6 GHz, also known as the sub-6 GHz band. This means that the 3G / 4G / 5G cellular connection on your smartphone, your home WiFi, the Bluetooth connection on your wireless headset, and almost anything else you can imagine use these frequencies to carry information. This is the most important critical challenge facing the wireless network today.
As the number of users and devices consuming data increases exponentially, the radio frequency spectrum available from telecommunications providers remains unchanged.
This means that limited bandwidth is allocated to each user, resulting in slower speeds and frequent disconnections.
One way to solve this problem is to transmit signals in bands where the spectrum is readily available. The millimeter wave band (mmWave) is particularly interesting because there is a large amount of underutilized bandwidth in this part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The main advantages of mmWave are frequency reuse and channel bandwidth. This band is therefore particularly suitable for mobile multi-gigabit communication systems and satellites with high throughput.
Also, components that work in the mmWave tapes are more compact and smaller, which makes them particularly useful in a scenario where a high density of devices are working simultaneously and in close proximity.
These advantages make mmWave technology an opportunity to increase the performance of our data transmission – the turbo of the engine of the information age.
Let’s examine four use cases where mmWave technology is key.
Multi-Gigabit Connectivity – Meet the need for capacity and speed
Satisfying the demand for high quality services for the rapidly growing subscribers accessing the cellular network is essential for network operators.
The sub-6 GHz cellular bands used in today’s newest communications systems are extremely crowded and fragmented. In order to achieve the expected and desired data throughput, high-frequency bands in the mmWave range must be adopted in such a way that more users can be accommodated in a still undisturbed and not yet assigned spectrum section.
The mmWave tapes offer a new standard and a large information bandwidth and enable data transmission rates of up to 10 Gbit / s. This speed is comparable to fiber optics and a hundred times faster than the current 4G technology.
More users and more connections strain the network. We assume that air is used as a wireless transmission medium and that there is no bandwidth limitation – but this is the case.
If the number of connections increases and the network does not adapt to this new need, our lives will be like we are in a big stadium for a soccer game and not calling or messageing our friends due to the overwhelming number of users may want to do the same things – at the same time.
New technologies such as 5G or Wi-Fi (802.11ay) have been developed to overcome these challenges and provide what is known as “great service in a crowd”.
For example, millimeter wave properties are very important to address this challenge. Due to the properties at high frequencies in relation to atmospheric absorption, the transmission range becomes shorter as you move to higher frequencies. Millimeter waves enable short-range communication of up to 100 meters instead of kilometers. In this scenario, the frequency can be reused so that networks can be operated at the same time that do not interfere with one another. Technologies like beamforming also increase the capacity of the cellular network and improve transmission efficiency for users.
Satellite communication – enabling more flexible approaches
Satellite communications play an important role in the global telecommunications system. There are currently more than 3,000 operational satellites in orbit around the earth and more than 1,800 are communications satellites.
In the past two years, several commercial satellite operators have started launching high throughput satellite constellations (HTS).
These next-generation satellites will be able to offer a much higher throughput of up to 400 percent compared to traditional fixed line, broadcast and mobile satellite services.
This significant capacity increase is achieved by using a “spot beam” architecture to cover a desired service area as in a cellular network, as opposed to the wide beam used in traditional satellite technology.
This architecture benefits from a higher transmit / receive gain that allows higher order modulation to be used to achieve a higher data rate. Because it is a service area covered by multiple spot beams, operators can configure multiple beams to reuse the same frequency band and polarization. Increase in capacity where it is needed and requested.
Most of the high-throughput satellites in operation today operate in the Ku-band (12-18 GHz) and the Ka-band (26.5-40 GHz), but the frequencies are increasing, and use in the Q and V bands ( 40 to GHz) is on the way 75 GHz).
Automotive Radar – Use the mmWave resolution
Automotive radar is the most reliable technology for detecting the distance (range) and movement of objects, including speed and angles, in almost any condition. It uses reflected radio waves to detect obstacles behind other obstacles and has low signal processing requirements.
The automotive radar sensor technology used by the 24 GHz narrow band sensors is now rapidly advancing to the high frequency 76-81 GHz band and the wide 5 GHz band, offering superior range resolution and immunity to dark matter such as Fog and smoke. The amount of improvement made by the higher frequency, wider bandwidth vehicle radar systems in range resolution is significant because the errors in range measurement and minimum resolvable range are inversely proportional to bandwidth.
The transition from 24 GHz to 79 GHz provides 20 times better performance in terms of distance resolution and accuracy. With a smaller wavelength, the resolution and accuracy of the speed measurement increases proportionally. The transition from 24 GHz to 79 GHz means that speed measurements can be improved by a factor of three.
Another benefit of moving from older 24 GHz to 79 GHz systems is the increase in size and weight. Since the wavelength of 79 GHz signals is one third of a 24 GHz system, the total area of a 79 GHz antenna is one ninth of that of a similar 24 GHz antenna. Developers can use smaller and lighter sensors and hide them more easily for better fuel economy and vehicle design.
Augmented Reality – the beginning of a new age
Extended Reality (XR) is an emerging umbrella term that encompasses all immersive technologies. The ones we already have today – Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR) and the area interpolated between them. XR will have exciting applications in diverse fields such as entertainment, medicine, science, education and manufacturing, and will transform the way we see or interact with the world around us, real or computer generated.
While VR and AR applications already exist in the market, the adoption rate is slow, the main reasons being bandwidth and latency.
Today’s wireless networks severely limit these applications, such as: B. Latency and capacity, which can completely affect the user experience.
Millimeter wave technology, as implemented in 5GThanks to the increased transmission bandwidth and the low latency, existing experiences are strengthened and new ones are made possible, which paves the way for mass acceptance.
However, in order to provide truly immersive AR, an at least ten fold increase in the data rate is required. This represents the current 5G technology. However, technology is always more innovative and this time around, the radio spectrum will be of vital importance in addressing these challenges.
6G will be the sixth generation of wireless wide-range technology, expanding the availability of frequency bands to Terahertz (THz) bands above the mmWave frequency range in which 5G operates.
6G also increases the data rate from 20 gigabits per second (Gbit / s) from 5G to 1 terabit per second (Tbit / s). In addition, 6G reduces latency to less than 1 millisecond. As a result, the traffic capacity of 6G increases from 10 Mbit / s / m in 5G to a theoretical maximum of 10 Gbit / s / m.
Holographic communication, tactile internet and fully immersive virtual / augmented reality are other applications that this future technology will enable and mmWave is once again the engine of this change and probably the trigger for the start of a new age where creativity reigns and imagination will occupy a central place in our existence.