LG sets THz distance record with candidate 6G mobile network

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A team of researchers, supported by LG Electronics (LG) and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft research organization, claim to have successfully demonstrated a candidate 6G (mobile broadband) mobile technology capable of using the TeraHertz (THz) band to send data on a record distance of 100 meters outdoors.

Granted, the 100m may not seem particularly impressive to a casual observer, but it’s actually quite a significant achievement. Typically, low-frequency mobile frequency bands (e.g. 700 MHz) can reach farther with their signals and penetrate better through walls than higher ones (e.g. 3.8 GHz), but at higher frequencies. low, there is less spectrum available for your data transmission (i.e. slower broadband speeds).

REMARK: The signal itself was sent between the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) and the buildings of the Berlin Institute of Technology in Germany.

The idea of ​​pushing into the THz bands with 6G is therefore to achieve incredible data speeds, with Samsung having previously indicated that they wanted to aim for a top speed (shared capacity) of 1 Tbit / s (Terabits per second) and latency times of only 100 microseconds (0.1 ms) for the future 6G technical (here). Sounds wonderful, but coverage quickly becomes a major issue due to the laws of physics, but we’ll get to that.

LG’s experience is important because, so far, a similar transmission would have fizzled out over just 15 meters (Samsung test). The solution was to use better power amplification to generate a stable signal at ultra wideband frequencies. The power amplifier is capable of generating a stable signal output up to 15 dBm in the frequency range of 155-175 GHz.

LG-6G-Test-Configuration

LG has also successfully demonstrated adaptive beamforming technology, which changes the direction of the signal based on changes in channel and receiver position, as well as high-gain antenna switching, which combines the output signals of several power amplifiers and transmits them to specific antennas.

Dr IP Park, President and CTO of LG Electronics, said:

“The success of this test demonstrates that we are getting closer and closer to the successful application of the terahertz radio communications spectrum in the next 6G era. Our successful partnerships with local and global research institutions and organizations to advance the development of 6G capabilities have been very rewarding. “

As usual, these tests are often more notable for the details they omit. In this case, they did not provide any information about the data transmission speed or the weather conditions, but we assume it was a clear sunny day. As far as we know, the data speeds achieved may have only been at the dial-up level.

The problem with all of this is that very high mobile frequencies only have very limited benefits, often through specific use cases. For example, existing 5G services also planned to use higher frequencies around 23 GHz to 100 GHz, but this created a conflict between the laws of physics and economic reality.

At present, only a few 5G operators have operated bands above 23 GHz, and usually only in high traffic areas (shopping malls, etc.) or for fixed wireless access (FWA) type links, as these signals are extremely weak and therefore do not travel very far. . The only way to counter this for mobile is to build a much denser and more complicated network deployment, which is extremely expensive and therefore operators have tended to shy away from it.

Suffice to say that the development of 6G, focusing so intensely on the terahertz band, risks repeating the same mistake, when it might be better to focus its energy more on improving 5G in the sector. underused. mmwave (mmW) bands first. All of this is currently the subject of a larger debate (here) and it is not yet clear what impact this will have on the development of 6G, if at all.

As it stands, 6G is currently in a very early R&D phase, and it is not expected to become a solid standard until 2025 (a draft standard could be defined in the 2021/22 period), with commercial launches. likely to follow a few years after that. Expect the usual hype to follow, which, as with 3G, 4G, and 5G before, often tends to be separate from reality.


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