Satellite links as fast as fibre with THz wireless links

February 07, 2017 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Hiroshima University, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, and Panasonic Corporation have announced the development of a terahertz (THz) transmitter capable of transmitting digital data at a rate exceeding 100 gigabits per second over a single channel using the 300-GHz band.

This technology enables data rates 10 times or more faster than that offered by the fifth-generation mobile networks (5G), expected to appear around 2020.] Details of the technology have been presented at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) 2017 in San Francisco, California [1].

The research group has developed a transmitter that achieves a communication speed of 105 gigabits per second using the frequency range from 290 GHz to 315 GHz. This range of frequencies are currently unallocated but fall within the frequency range from 275 GHz to 450 GHz, whose usage is to be discussed at the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) 2019 under the International Telecommunication Union Radiocommunication Section (ITU-R).

Last year, the group demonstrated that the speed of a wireless link in the 300-GHz band could be greatly enhanced by using quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) [2]. This year, they showed six times higher per-channel data rate, exceeding 100 gigabits per second for the first time as an integrated-circuit-based transmitter. At this data rate, the whole content on a DVD (digital versatile disk) can be transferred in a fraction of a second.

Terahertz wireless links to spaceborne satellites could make gigabit-per-second connection speeds available to anyone anytime, anywhere on the face of the earth, on the ground or in flight. Image courtesy of Fujishima et al. (Hiroshima University).