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D-Band Radio solution Enabling up to 100 Gbps reconfigurable Approach for Meshed beyond 5G networks

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DREAM (D-Band Radio solution Enabling up to 100 Gbps reconfigurable Approach for Meshed beyond 5G networks)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2021-02-28

Nowadays there is a shared vision among industry, operators and academy that beyond 5G wireless networks will have to provide wideband wireless access and ubiquitous computing anywhere and at any time. Supporting this scenario is a challenge for network operators and wireless network infrastructures and it will demand a tremendous performance improvement of medium range wireless infrastructure. This challenge needs to be addressed by a convergence of advanced semiconductor nanotechnology and a robust wireless infrastructure meshed network with seamless fiber performances.

The DREAM project, through the exploitation of the radio spectrum in D-band (130-174.8 GHz) will enable wireless links with beam steering functionality and with data rate exceeding current V-band and E-band wireless backhaul solutions by at least a factor of 10. It will bring wireless systems to the speed of optical systems. The DREAM project objectives rely on a power efficient and silicon based BiCMOS transceiver analog front end, operating in D-band and enabling cost efficient deployment of meshed networks with seamless fiber performance. A beam steering integrated antenna array using an advance low-cost packaging technology prototype is developed for the implementation of the beyond 5G network proof of concept in a laboratory environment.

There are 4 main objectives in the project

Objective 1 Demonstrate the feasibility of low-cost SiGe BiCMOS transceiver analog front end enabling link data rate up to 100 Gb/s in D-band. The project targets to enable innovative mmW systems beyond 100 GHz delivering data rate exceeding current V band and E band wireless backhaul solution .

Objective 2 Provide a high capacity backhauling in D-band for future Small Cells access point networks. This enables the challenge of bringing mmW radios to the access points in order to exploit the large bandwidth available and to avoid disruption or environmental impact of fibre optic laying. Fast mobile broadband access with low latency and high speed end-to-end connectivity even at the cell edge (100 Mb/s minimum), will be enabled by the D-band very high throughput inter-small cell backhauling links.

Objective 3 Increase flexibility and cost saving for network operator. Inter-small cell backhauling connections by compact and low cost D-band transceiver, with antenna beam steering option, will enable the network deployment and will bring small cell access point data traffic close to the fiber backbone.

Objective 4 Reduction of the cost and power consumption (green radio) of high data rate small cell backhaul/fronthaul links in D-band. The use of D-band radios, directive and beam steering antennas results in a reduced emitted power requirement, more efficient transmitter implementation and a better efficiency of the spectrum usage (since high frequency reuse can be achieved).
The project has been well progress with regard to project objectives. System architecture is created. All transceiver blocks including a phase shifters, power amplifiers, low noise amplifiers, frequency multipliers, IQ modulators and demodulates are designed, fabricated and tested. D band antenna array is designed, fabricated and tested. A digital block for control of operation of the antenna array is designed, fabricated and tested. A low cost integration platform based on advanced high frequency materials is developed. Demo of D band link with beam steering functionality is implemented and tested. The functionality of the link is demonstrated including +/- 30 degree beam steering.

Three different communication objectives have been identified in the project: (1) favoring the exploitation of the DREAM outcomes, (2) dissemination of scientific results and (3) creating public awareness on EU-funded research programs. To reach these objectives, the consortium uses comprise internet channels, networking through different channels specific to each partner, attendance of showcase events (like conferences and exhibitions) and scientific publications. Promotion initiatives followed an action plan agreed by the consortium and have been stimulated and monitored for the entire duration of the project. The activities carried out consisted in the creation of the DREAM identity, realization of a web-site and promotional material, networking with similar H2020 projects, interactions with standardization bodies, attendance to showcase events, and several other partner’s specific actions. Publication of scientific results is important aspect of the dissemination. Based on the project results 5 journal papers (all IEEE) and 9 conference papers (8 IEEE) have been published.

Exploitation activities of DREAM project outcomes play a major role both for the industrial, research centers and the academic partners, having a strong mid- and long-term impact on regulation and standardization activities, new products proof-of-concept, IPRs and pre-development activities, as well as on scientific dissemination and education.

To reach goals of influencing the regulation and standardization activities in D-band, DREAM particular Nokia and ST has actively participated in work of standardization groups the most important for standardization of D band: ETSI, ATTM TM4, CEPT ECC WG SE19 and ETSI ISG mWT.
DREAM project demonstrates the feasibility of radio solutions in D-Band with beam steering capability that will make possible the reconfigurable mesh networks that can address the needs of beyond 5G mobile networks.

Our Approach

Use of D-band (130-175 GHz)
Gross system gain up to 135 dB
4x4 MIMO (only 1 stream is demonstrated)
Up to 256 antenna elements (a 16 element sub-array is demonstrated)
Beam steering capabilities, with +/- 30º steerability
Up to 256-QAM modulation (ACM) -> 12.5 Gbps in each direction
Usage of state-of-the-art STMicroelectronics 55-nm BiCMOS technology
Modular and scalable arrangement. A multi-chip solution is implemented making it scalable and minimizing risk.
State-of-the-art PCB materials is used to minimize loss at D-band frequencies

Our ambition is to provide the advince radio solution, capable, not only to complement the fiber in the backhaul access part of the network, but also to provide additional features, such as “real-time” re-configurability of resources. The features of the backhaul network enabled by this radio solution open the door to future intelligent networks exploiting the paradigms of beyond current 5G mobile network concepts.

The advanced SiGe BiCMOS technology utilized in the project enables the design and fabrication of IC for beyond 5G network infrastructure and thus boosting the European industries as Nokia, ST and Erzia to maintain their worldwide leading edge positions in the coming years. Results of DREAM will help to develop SiGe BiCMOS and advanced integration technologies for mmW systems beyond 100 GHz further.

The outputs of the DREAM include a high gain beam steering antenna array for use in backhauling radio links. The antenna array will feature tight integration of the antennas and RFICs for maximum performance.

The DREAM project helps at maintaining Europe’s leadership in wireless cellular systems by setting the technological and scientific ground in usage of D band frequency range for mobile networks beyond 5G.