DLINK project aims to deliver 5G breakthrough

Monday, 01 April, 2019

DLINK project aims to deliver 5G breakthrough

The DLINK research project aims to put the UK at the forefront of millimetre wave comms technology.

The DLINK project — a collaboration between Lancaster University and Glasgow University along with major industrial partners and advisors including BT, Nokia Bell Labs, IQE, Filtronic, Optocap and Teledyne e2v, and which has Intel on its advisory board — 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 and 174.8 GHz, is particularly relevant for 5G because, being very wide, it enables the wireless transmission of high data rates — around 45 Gbps.

The breakthrough goal of DLINK is to enable data transmission over distances of one kilometre, by using a novel transmitter with excellent ability to withstand the high attenuation from rain and other atmospheric conditions that can be a problem in that portion of the spectrum.

Wireless data demands are continuing to gather pace with widespread proliferation of internet connected devices and increasingly demanding applications — around 74% of mobile data traffic will come from video streaming within five years.

There is thus 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 on the tops of buildings.

DLINK has been funded with more than £850,000 from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The research group at Lancaster will build novel, powerful, vacuum travelling wave tubes, devices that greatly amplify the transmission power needed to enable new mesh architectures for high-data-rate wireless networks in this band.

The travelling wave tube will provide transmission power and work in conjunction with a novel oscillator to produce high data rates. The oscillator will be built by a team at University of Glasgow, led by Professor Edward Wasige.

DLINK is being led by Professor Claudio Paoloni, Cockcroft Chair and Head of Engineering at Lancaster University. He is a researcher in the field of millimetre wave travelling wave tubes and has coordinated multimillion-pound projects for novel wireless network architectures in different portions of the wireless spectrum — from 90 up 300 GHz.

“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,” Professor Paoloni said.

“The DLINK project has the ambition to deliver new wireless technologies that will enable us to exploit the as yet unused D-band part of the spectrum, and position the UK as a major player in achieving a beyond 5G connected future.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/beebright

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Originally published here.

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