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Friday, July 19, 2019

Transceiver for '6G' wireless

By Nick Flaherty

Engineers at the University of California, Irvine, have developed a transceiver that leapfrogs over the 5G wireless standard operating in the 28 to 38GHz range into the proposed 6G standard which is expected to work at 100GHz and above.

The chip developed by UCI's Nanoscale Communication Integrated Circuits Labs with a 55nm SiGe BiCMOS process from TowerJazz and STMicroelectronics measures 2.5 x 3.5 mm and operates in the 115-135-GHz band using an 8PSK receiver with multi-phase RF-correlation-based direct demodulation. 

"We call our chip 'beyond 5G' because the combined speed and data rate that we can achieve is two orders of magnitude higher than the capability of the new wireless standard," said Payam Heydari, NCIC Labs director and UCI professor of electrical engineering & computer science. "In addition, operating in a higher frequency means that you and I and everyone else can be given a bigger chunk of the bandwidth offered by carriers."

The key is that the output of the RF direct conversion receiver architecture is demodulated bits, avoiding the need for power-hungry high-speed-resolution data converters. It has a maximum conversion gain of 32 dB and a minimum noise figure (NF) of 10.3 dB, giving a a data rate of 36Gb/s at a distance of 30cm, consuming a total DC power of 200.25 mW. As a result, this could be used to replace high speed fibre optic cables in data centres say the researchers.

"Our innovation eliminates the need for miles of fibre optic cables in data centres, so data farm operators can do ultra-fast wireless transfer and save considerable money on hardware, cooling and power," said Huan Wang, a UCI doctoral student in electrical engineering & computer science and an NCIC Labs member.

"The Federal Communications Commission recently opened up new frequency bands above 100 gigahertz," said lead author and postgraduate researcher Hossein Mohammadnezhad, a UCI grad student at the time of the work who this year earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering & computer science. "Our new transceiver is the first to provide end-to-end capabilities in this part of the spectrum."

Heydari said that in addition to enabling the transmission of signals in the range of 100 gigahertz, the transceiver's unique layout allows it to consume considerably less energy than current systems at a reduced overall cost, paving the way for widespread adoption in the consumer electronics market.

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