Reports from the Federal Network Agency in the US predict that current communications networks and existing frequency bands will not be able to absorb the unstoppable demand of the coming years. The upcoming 5G mobile phone standard promises a huge performance boost in wireless communication. However, the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and Big Data traffic in all sectors require the development of new alternatives to be deployed in a few years. It is the case of Newfoundland Project.
Funded by the European Commission within “Horizon 2020”, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and other European partners from industry and research are initiating the Terranova project with the main objective of embedding wireless links with carrier frequencies in the THz range into fiber optic links. and thus allow very high data rates throughout the transmission path. Furthermore, the development of new frequency bands is also part of the project.
Fiber Optic and Microwave Networks
By combining established fiber optics with microwave technology, scientists hope to enable a network connection in the THz frequency range that is stable enough to transport data wirelessly at speeds of up to 400 gigabits per second. To date, such transmission speeds are only possible using pure fiberglass connections. However, laying and routing fiber can be costly and labor intensive, which is one of the reasons rural areas increasingly deviate from the current state of technology.
The advantage of THz radio wireless communication lies within the wide variety of possible applications: It can be of interest both for “Smart Factories” with connected machines and devices, as well as for the connection of base stations that support the expansion of mobile radio and Wi-Fi networks. The integration of THz radio communication represents a real alternative to classic fiberglass networks for the long-term expansion of high-speed Internet in rural areas, as well as for wireless connections in data centers.
Although their range is limited to 300 GHz, the great advantage of wireless links is their ability to easily bridge water and mountainous or inaccessible terrain. Today, mobile radio base stations are already supplied with data over the radio, but with very limited data rates. In contrast to the complex laying of fiber optic cables, data transmission via radio can be done quickly, easily and wirelessly over a distance of up to one kilometer using point-to-point wireless link technology.
Source: European Commission and Fraunhofer