The world’s first millimetre wave (W-band) wireless network system will be developed in Lancaster, testing technology that could pave the way for omnipresent cost-effective high-speed Internet.
Part of the £2.8m TWEETHER project, funded through the EU’s Horizon 2020 research framework programme, the undertaking aims to expand the boundaries of millimetre wave communication, which uses extremely high frequencies to transmit data.
Millimetre waves, found in the spectrum between microwaves and infrared waves, are generally considered the most promising and cheapest solution for future communication networks to secure high-speed wireless mobile and fixed-point Internet.
“The enormous flux of data transferred via wireless networks, increasing at a super-high pace, makes today’s state-of-the-art networks quickly outdated," said Lancaster University Professor of Electronics Claudio Paoloni, the project’s co-ordinator.
“The huge spread of portable devices such as smartphones and tablets, and the increasing demand for data-hungry services such as high-definition TV, videoconferencing and online games, are posing formidable challenges with the congestion of the available spectrum and the limits of present technology.”
The Lancaster University team believes microwaves, part of the currently idle portion of the electro-magnetic spectrum, could provide a solution to the imminent Internet capacity crunch.
The TWEETHER project will benefit from recent advances in the field of vacuum electronics and solid state electronics using millimetre wave frequencies.
At the end of the three-year research period, the scientists will build a powerful and compact transmission hub with unprecedented performance.
The Internet capacity crunch is already felt by many living in some suburban and rural areas where optical fibre networks are not available.