DLINK Touted as Fibre-in-Air Extreme 5G
April 19, 2019
is participating in a new £850,000 research project that aims to put the
UK at the forefront of the next generation of millimetre wave wireless
communications technology for 5G infrastructure.
This project addresses the important challenge of ubiquitous wireless
connectivity for 5G, a key underpinning technology for the modern
digital economy and is a collaboration between Lancaster University and
Glasgow University along with major industrial partners including BT,
Nokia Bell Labs, IQE, Filtronic, Optocap and Teledyne e2v, and has in
the advisory board Intel. The project aims to provide ‘fibre-in-air’
communication links with unprecedented data rates and transmission
distance by exploiting a thus-far unused portion of the wireless
communications spectrum, called D-band.
D-Band, which is the portion of spectrum between 151-174.8 GHz, is
particularly relevant for 5G because, being very wide, it enables the
wireless transmission of high data rates – of around 45Gb/s.
The breakthrough goal of DLINK is to enable data transmission over
distances of one kilometre, by a novel transmitter with excellent
ability to withstand the high attenuation from rain and other
atmospheric conditions that can be problematic at that portion of the
There is an urgent need for new wireless communications technologies
capable of delivering data at high speeds and low cost and without
needing installations of fibre or large unsightly equipment to be fitted
on the tops of many of the buildings in our cities.
This is because wireless data demands are continuing to gather pace with
widespread proliferation of Internet connected devices such as
smartphones, tablet computers and laptops. The things people choose to
do with their devices is also increasingly demanding – around 74 per
cent of mobile data traffic is expected to come from video streaming
within the next five years.
All of these connected devices are placing huge strains on the existing
wireless communications systems, and its limited data capacity.
DLINK has been funded with over £850,000 from the Engineering and
Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
IQE’s role within the DLINK project is to provide the epitaxial needs
for high-quality InP-based Resonant Tunnelling Diode (RTD) structures,
building upon the successful completion of a previous programme (iBROW)
in which IQE played a major role in supplying InP-based RTD structures
grown on InP and Si substrates using our proprietary
germanium-on-silicon (Ge-on-Si) template process.
Claudio Paoloni, Cockcroft Chair and Head of Engineering at Lancaster
University said: “The huge growth of mobile data and consumer demand for
video streaming, along with the Internet of Things, driverless vehicles,
virtual reality and a multitude of other emerging technologies are going
to require fibre-quality data speeds but delivered wirelessly and
Dr. Wayne Johnson, VP at IQEsaid: “5G networks will function across an
unprecedented frequency range from traditional cellular bands to
millimetre wave. IQE offers a powerful array of materials solutions
enabling 5G, including enhanced efficiency GaAs HBT PAs, novel RF filter
products utilising IQE’s proprietary cREO technology, and high
performance switches for mobile devices, GaN HEMTs for wireless
infrastructure, InP products for high-speed oscillators and photodiodes,
and many more. This DLINK program is another example of how compound
semiconductors produced by IQE will continue to fuel the connected world
as it transitions to 5G platforms.”