- Researchers have developed a way to make 6G technology come alive by designing the longest terahertz connection ever established on Earth.
- This can enable highspeed wireless communications in remote and rural places where optical networks do not reach.
The most significant advancement in the communication world is its speed, may it be wired or wireless. The transition from Kbps to Mbps to Gbps has been quite a journey. But it does not end here. There is another generation of communication networks being developed. Although it has been questioned mannier times before and now, there seems to be a chance of this technology to come alive.
Together with NASA, the U.S. Air Force and Amazon; Josep Jornet, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Northeastern University proved for the first time that high-speed, high-bandwidth wireless communication at the terahertz frequency is possible across long distances. Their work shows that there is a path forward for mass wireless communication, one that could shrink the digital divide felt by rural communities outside high-speed optical fiber networks.
The terahertz band is a set of frequencies above 100 gigahertz, pushing past 5G’s 71 gigahertz limit. The rollout of 6G wireless will bring this level of service to the public, but although sending signals across the terahertz band has been proven, doing so at a great distance has been all but impossible. The higher the frequency is, the shorter the distance information can travel.
Researchers were able to form a 2-kilometer link, the longest terahertz connection ever established on Earth. NASA has been toying with the idea of terahertz wireless systems to sense signals in space, but the organization’s efforts have been focused solely on receiving signals. When it comes to sending a signal, things get tricky.
The team directly fed the information to the signal source instead of using the mixer. doing so distorted the information to the point where it was a mangled mess. Another problem required another creative solution. “Instead of trying to fix the information at the receiver, let me pre-distort my signal,” he says. “I’m going to make the signal ugly, such that when it goes through the source, it becomes beautiful.”
The results showed that the new system was hitting frequencies and bandwidths that eclipsed 5G networks by more than “two orders of magnitude.” The impact of this kind of high-speed, high bandwidth connection would be monumental, providing higher data rates and more connectivity even for rural communities.
Reference : Priyangshu Sen et al, Multi-kilometre and multi-gigabit-per-second sub-terahertz communications for wireless backhaul applications, Nature Electronics (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41928-022-00897-6