Terahertz Radio Transmission Promises 50Gbps Data Speeds

August 12, 2017 - Written By Mark Real

Brown University researchers have succeeded in developing a method of combining multiple high-bandwidth data streams into one terahertz radio band. Scientists in the field of wireless communications are trying to find new ways to send and receive data as traditional systems, like those running at microwave frequencies, may reach a point where it cannot keep up with the demand of consumers and enterprise. The key advantage of sending signals over terahertz frequencies is the increased bandwidth it could provide, which in turn allows for massive increases in upload and download data speeds. However, there are still steps that need to be undertaken before this goal is reached. Among the steps is looking for an appropriate method for sending multiple network streams over different frequencies without interference. Within the last few months, researchers in the Rhode Island-based university has succeeded in developing a multiplexing method for terahertz frequencies. Multiplexing refers to sending multiple signals over a single channel, which results in the sharing of spectrum resources among the users.

Daniel Mittleman, a professor of Engineering at the Brown University, and his team succeeded in developing the necessary multiplexing and demultiplexing equipment. Using their inventions, the researchers succeeded in sending over the terahertz band two different data streams with combined speeds of 10Gbps without any error. If forward error correction mechanisms are used, two data streams with individual transfer rates of 25Gbps can also be transmitted using the same bands. The aforementioned mechanisms are already widely used in the telecommunications industry, so the combined 50Gbps speeds on wireless networks should be readily achievable.

In building setups that use much higher bands, scientists have to consider multiple factors. One of the factors is the angle between the receiver and the transmitter. The differences in the angle may increase the error rate, forcing the engineers to decrease the maximum speeds of the network. Another consideration is that the characteristics of signal propagation and transmission may significantly differ once actual data is transmitted over radio waves. Nonetheless, this communications technology may still take years to mature but the researches like these provide clues on what the networks of the future may look like.