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DLINK Touted as Fibre-in-Air Extreme 5G

April 19, 2019

IQE 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 spectrum.

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).

IQEs 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.

Professor 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 ubiquitously.

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 IQEs 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.

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