Japanese researchers develop transmitter capable of 100 Gbps

Terahertz wireless links to satellites could make gigabit-per-second speeds worldwide a reality, including on planes in flight, a research team in Japan said.

Researchers in Japan claim to have developed a transmitter that can send data at a speed of more than 100 gigabits per second over a single channel using the 300 GHz band of spectrum.

The team, comprising researchers from Hiroshima University, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology and Panasonic, said the technology enables data rates “10 times or more faster” than the 5G networks expected to come online in the next few years. The group said it will release details regarding the technology this week at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco.

“We usually talk about wireless data rates in megabits per second or gigabits per second,” Minori Fujishima of Hiroshima University’s Graduate School of Advanced Sciences of Matter said in a press release. “But we are now approaching terabits per second using a plain simple single communication channel. Fiber optics could offer ultra-high-speed links to satellites as well, which can only be wireless. That could, in turn, significantly boost in-flight network connection speeds, for example. Other possible applications include fast download from contents servers to mobile devices and ultrafast wireless links between base stations.”

The group claims that terahertz wireless links to satellites could make gigabit-per-second speeds available around the world, including on planes in flight. The researchers said they used quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) to increase data rates by 600% over the last year, exceeding 100 Gbps for the first time as an integrated circuit-based transmitter.

The researchers used a frequency range from 290 GHz to 315 GHz to achieve the data speeds. The spectrum is unallocated but falls within the range of 275 MHz to 450 MHz, they said; usage of those airwaves is slated to be discussed at the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2019.

“Optical fibers are made of glass and the speed of light slows down in fibers,” Fujishima said. “That makes fiber optics inadequate for applications requiring real-time responses. Today, you must make a choice between ‘high data rate’ (fiber optics) and ‘minimum latency’ (microwave links). You can’t have them both. But with terahertz wireless, we could have light-speed minimum-latency links supporting fiber-optic data rates.”