Terahertz Wireless Enables 10x Faster Data Rates than 5G

Panasonic Corporation in collaboration with Hiroshima University and National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Japan have developed a Terahertz (THz) transmitter capable of transmitting digital data at a rate exceeding 100 gigabits (= 0.1 terabit) per second over a single channel using the 300-GHz band. This technology enables data rates 10 times faster than that offered by the fifth-generation mobile networks (5G) which are expected to appear around 2020.

The THz band is a new and vast frequency resource expected to be used for future ultrahigh-speed wireless communications. The transmitter achieves a communication speed of 105 gigabits per second using the frequency range from 290 GHz to 315 GHz. Although this range of frequency is currently unallocated but falls within the frequency range from 275 GHz to 450 GHz, whose usage is to be discussed at the World Radio communication Conference (WRC) 2019 under the International Telecommunication Union Radio communication 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). 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 which made the per-channel data rate above 100 G bit/s at 300 GHz. At this data rate, the whole content on a DVD (digital versatile disk) can be transferred in a fraction of a second.

The THz now looks to offer ultrahigh-speed wireless links to satellites as well which will further boost applications and usage for in-flight network connection speeds. Other possible applications include fast download from contents servers to mobile devices and ultrafast wireless links between base stations. THz wireless is also setting up possibilities of offering high-data-rate minimum-latency-communications, which will provide light-speed minimum-latency links supporting high speed fiber-optics-data rates. The research group also plans to further develop 300-GHz ultrahigh-speed wireless circuits. The research team presented the details of this technology at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) 2017, held in San Francisco, California.