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The use of radio pulse technology will allow to achieve terabit speed in wireless networks

Використання радіоімпульсної технології дозволить досягти терабітної швидкості в бездротових мережах

A group of researchers from the William Marsh Rice University (William Marsh Rice University), USA, has developed a new radio pulse technology that does not use lasers, on the basis of which wireless networks can be created in the future, providing a data transfer rate of at least 1 terabit (1 trillion bits) per second. This is 20,000 times the speed of current 4G wireless networks and 20 times faster than the speed of the best optical channels through which access to the Internet is provided to end users.

According to the results of these studies, in 2015 alone, global mobile traffic grew by 74 percent compared to the previous year, reaching 3.7 exabits (about 30 million terabits) in December 2015. The amount of traffic generated by smartphones increased in 2015 by 43 percent, reaching an average of 929 megabytes per month per user.

“Overcoming the terabit threshold will solve the problem of providing high-quality traffic to end users, it will allow the implementation of a whole set of new mobile services and will change some of the existing communication paradigms” – says Edward Knightly, a professor at Rice University.

The radio pulse technology used by the researchers is fundamentally different from the carrier frequency modulation technologies that have been used in the field of wireless communications for many decades. And, with a high percentage of probability, radio pulse technology is the only one that will allow “jump” through the terabit barrier, using a single data transmission channel for this. But for the practical implementation of the developed technology, scientists have to overcome a number of difficult technical problems.

Recall that the first pulse radio technology for data transmission was used by Guglielmo Marconi in the early 1900s. He used an antenna connected to a large capacitor. When the capacitor was charged and a certain electric potential was reached, the air gap was broken and all the energy of the capacitor was directed to the antenna in the form of a short pulse.

“Our impulse system is also built on the principles used by Marconi. But instead of a capacitor and an air gap, it uses a high-speed bipolar transistor that supplies energy to the antenna, which is located directly on the crystal of the chip. – tells Edward Knightley, – “We accumulate energy inside the chip in magnetic form and use a simple digital “trigger mechanism”, which allows us to obtain radio pulses with a picosecond duration. There is no generator in our system, at its output we receive pure digital radio pulses.

The laboratory in which this group of researchers works set a kind of record this year by receiving the shortest radio pulse, the duration of which was 1.9 picoseconds. And now researchers are working on creating a transmitter that will be able to send even shorter radio pulses with a frequency from 100 gigahertz to several terahertz. This transmitter will contain about 10,000 individual antennas, each of which will be connected to its own control chip. This number of antennas will allow you to get a high output signal power, which will be enough to organize communication at a distance of up to 300 meters initially. In addition, such a number of antennas will allow controlling the shape and other parameters of the radio signal produced with high precision.

“Communication technologies based on the modulation of the carrier frequency signal, used in the last few decades, are perfectly suited to work at relatively low frequencies. But all this fundamentally changes when moving to higher frequencies, in the range above the 100 gigahertz mark” – tells Edward Knightley, – “in this case, we should use only narrowly directed transmission within direct line of sight. This will allow us to avoid unwanted reflections of signals and make it as difficult as possible to intercept the transmitted information. Our technology uses radio signals, but these radio signals are focused like a beam of laser light.