Radio over Fiber Transmission Paves the Way for Future 5G-Solutions

CST Global, a Sivers IMA Holdings AB subsidiary, has successfully proven the feasibility of 60 GHz Radio over Fiber (ROF) transmission using the 1270nm wavelength. ROF networks are emerging as a completely new and promising communication paradigm for delivering broadband wireless access services and fronthaul at 60 GHz, relying on the synergy between fixed optical and millimeter wave (mmWave) technologies. CST Global’s research shows that their 60 GHz, ROF, broadband solution is feasible, by combining CST Global’s optical solutions and mmWave technology from Sivers IMA in the future.

Radio over Fiber (RoF) refers to an analog transmission over fiber technology whereby light is amplitude modulated by a radio signal and transmitted over an optical fiber link to facilitate wireless access. In RoF systems, wireless signals are transported in optical form between a central station and a set of base stations before being radiated through the air. Each base station is adapted to communicate over a radio link with at least one user’s mobile station located within the radio range of said base station. ROF supports tens of kilometres of fiber connection from a Remote Radio Head to a centralized radio access base band unit pool in 5G networks.

The feasibility comes as part of CST Global’s involvement in two, funded research projects. iBROW, an EU Horizon 2020 project, which started in January 2015 and WiPhi, an Innovate UK project, which started in January 2018. The feasibility at a 1270nm wavelength can now be added to 1310 nm, which was previously shown as an effective transmission wavelength. The company is confident that the technology will also be feasible at 1550nm, which can be used for extended transmission distances of up to 25 km.

More development is needed to establish a commercial, ultra-broadband, ROF solution that is low cost, energy-efficient, compact, operates at room temperature and integrates with 5G, fibre-optic network requirements.