Skip to main content

multimode FIber Radio technology for cost-efficient
indoor Mm-WAve REmote antenna systems

Final Report Summary - FIRMWARE (multimode FIber Radio technology for cost-efficient<br/>indoor Mm-WAve REmote antenna systems)

In the last few years, the license-free spectrum at 60GHz, which offers (in accordance to FCC) an available bandwidth of 7GHz has gained much attention so as to satisfy the emerging bandwidth-hungry backhauling or access applications.

In this spectral area, ultra-broadband, 60-GHz wireless short area indoor networks have attracted much interest and several wireless standards have already been proposed such as the wireless High Definition audio/video standard (Wireless HD), the next generation Wi-Fi (WiGig), or the ECMA-387 (UWB) focusing on a high bit rate wireless personal area network (WPAN). All the above are employing Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) as the preferred technology for its superiority in terms of tolerance to multipath fading and spectral efficiency. Upcoming applications include the support of next generation (i.e. 5G) cellular systems or the bridging of wired networking (like Optical networks) where relevant infrastructure is not available.
So as to address the aforementioned needs FIRMWARE (Fig.1) introduces a cost-efficient centralized-controlled simple remote antenna deployment in order to minimize energy consumption, and EMF radio exposure in accordance to the social needs for reduced carbon footprint (i.e. green networks) and safe home/office, and the ICT priorities for energy efficient seamless connectivity combined with cost reduction.
FIRMWARE employs widely deployed multimode fiber (OM-1 MMF) in order to re-use the existing optical infrastructure (indoor & in-campus) for 60GHz wireless signal transmission, providing a cost-efficient approach for ultra-broadband 5G mobile/wireless connectivity, through the use of mm-wave radio over fiber technology.

FIRMWARE has produced research results of high quality so as to achieve its objectives;
Relevant scientific results have been published in top international journals and conferences;

● A proof of concept experiment has been performed using an SMF-MMF 60GHz radio over fiber scheme using a conventional central launching technique at 1550nm.
A robust multiband orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (MB-OFDM) optical single side band (O-SSB) technique, employing envelope detector scheme, has been used as to address the performance limitations. A characterization of the SMF-MMF has been
performed and a 3.84Gb/s transmission has been demonstrated over a scheme including 17.5km SMF and 250m MMF, which is far above the target of 3Gb/s at 100m MMF proposed at the DOW. (published at IEEE/OSA Journal of Lightwave technology).
● A converged fiber-wireless network topology has been proposed, as to simultaneously support 60GHz radio over fiber indoor wireless access, standard E-PON, and a 60GHz
wireless bridge providing a virtual E-PON extension. Fiber-wireless experiments using E-PON real data have been performed (published at IEEE ICTON proceedings).
● Mm-wave planar antennas using ultra low-cost printing techniques on a coplanar (CPW) configuration and cost/energy efficient, environmental friendly materials (such as Carbon on Glass) have been designed and fabricated. Regarding the importance and potential of the results an 1.1m£ research fellowship proposal has been completed and submitted to the EPSRC, including the in-kind support of a leading industrial UK partner in the area and a major EU research institute (published at Scientific Deliverables 3&5).
● Full fiber-60GHz wireless experiments have been performed using SMF-250m MMF and evaluated under various indoor OFDM & MB-OFDM standards, at a 5Gb/s bit rate (published at IEEE ICC).
● A spectrally efficient frequency division multiplexing (SEFDM) scheme based on radio over fiber (RoF) technology has been proposed for the first time, so as to address next generation wireless data traffic demands on a cost, energy & spectrally efficient way. A proposed radio over fiber topology for beyond 4G deployment is addressed and a proof-of-concept SEFDM long term evolution (LTE) type of radio over multimode fiber transmission is successfully demonstrated at ~36Mb/s (published at IEEE NOC).
● A PON/mm-wave converged topology using single mode fiber (SMF) to multimode fiber (MMF) feeds has been addressed supporting 60GHz indoor wireless access, standard PON, and a 60GHz wireless bridge providing a virtual PON extension. Proof-of-concept experiments have been performed using a 5Gb/s at 60GHz MB-OFDM transmission over SMF-250m MMF-SMF link co-existing with 1.2Gb/s OOK (NRZ)
signal (published at IEEE NOC).
● A PON/mm-wave converged topology has been addressed, focusing on mm-wave for 5G in building extension and small cell 5G backhaul. An experimental study comparing central and offset SMF-MMF coupling is performed using an 1.2Gb/s OOK (NRZ) transmission and 60GHz photonic up-conversion or a 5Gb/s at 60GHz carrier MB-OFDM both propagating over up to 1km OM-1 MMF (IEEE Photonics Technology Letters, to appear).

Apart from dissemination of its research results through major scientific events FIRMWARE has performed a lot of knowledge transfer in non specialist areas including at university level (UCL annual poster day), school level (UCL school open day), and wider societal distinguished events. An example of the latter is the presentation of FIRMWARE to the House of Parliament and in particular to members of parliament (MPs) and a panel of expert judges, as part of SET for Britain 2015. During this event the fellow had the opportunity to meet and discuss about FIRMWARE’s cost-efficient 5G fiber-wireless approach with his local MP, Public Health Minister Jane Ellison (Fig.2). Relevant information has been published at departmental web site (