LG claims win with 6G terahertz test in Germany

South Korea-based LG Electronics is claiming a big win in the global mobile network technology space with the successful test of 6G terahertz (THz) data – at a frequency range of 155 to 175 GHz – over a distance of 320 meters outdoors.

The feat was accomplished at the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) in Berlin, Germany, on September 7.

LG said it represents a significant step toward commercializing 6G THz in both indoor and outdoor urban areas since the reference cell coverage of base stations for urban macro cells is a distance of about 250 meters outdoors. It’s also a major improvement from August of last year, when LG showed how it could transfer 6G THz data over a distance of 100 meters outdoors.

While millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies are being used in 5G, signals don’t travel far or through structures as well as lower bands. Therefore, the use of mmWave in the U.S. is usually reserved for highly dense and targeted places like stadiums.

Terahertz frequencies are even higher on the spectrum and LG, in its press release, noted that THz signals have a short range and can experience power loss from transmission to reception.

LG, Fraunhofer HHI and Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics (IAF) co-developed a power amplifier capable of increasing transmission strength and a receiver low-noise amplifier that improves incoming signal quality.

In the recent demonstration, they used a multi-channel power amplifier with an output of more than 20dBm, an increase of over 5dBm from the solution LG and Fraunhofer HHI & IAF deployed in their previous trial. They also used a receiver low-noise amplifier that minimizes noise generation for reception signal.

These new technologies were integrated into LG’s latest module design.

“With the success of our latest demonstration, we are one step closer to realizing 6G speeds of 1 terabit (TB) per second in both indoor and outdoor urban areas,” said Kim Byoung-hoon, CTO and EVP of LG Electronics, in a statement. “LG will continue to cooperate with research institutes and industry innovators to further solidify its leadership in 6G technology. We expect 6G to be a major driver of future business and new user experiences, and there is no place we’d rather be than at the forefront of its development.”

LG plans to announce the full results of its latest 6G communications test and present an overview of the technology’s development at the 6G Grand Summit, set to take place at the LG Science Park in Seoul on September 23. The company is hosting the event in collaboration with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science.

In the press release, LG noted that discussions on 6G network standardization are expected to begin around 2025, with commercialization of the technology slated for 2029. Compared to 5G wireless networks, 6G will deliver far better data transfer speeds with lower latency and higher reliability, the company said.