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Terabit/s Wireless Connectivity by TeraHertz innovative technologies to deliver Optical Network Quality of Experience in Systems beyond 5G

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - TERRANOVA (Terabit/s Wireless Connectivity by TeraHertz innovative technologies to deliver Optical Network Quality of Experience in Systems beyond 5G)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2020-03-31

TERRANOVA System Concept envisions unprecedented performance excellence, not only by targeting data rates in the Tbps regime, but also by inherently supporting novel usage scenarios and applications, which combine ultra-high data rates with agility, reliability and almost-zero response time. The use of wireless THz links as backhaul extension of the optical fibre is considered an important building block to bridge the ‘divide’ between rural areas and major cities and ensure high-speed internet access everywhere, in the era beyond 5G. Moreover, the increasing number of mobile and fixed end users will require hundreds of Gbps in the communication to or between cell towers (backhaul) as well as between remote radio heads located at the cell towers and centralized baseband units (fronthaul). In all these beyond 5G usage scenarios, THz communications are expected to play a decisive role and TERRANOVA project aspires to contribute to the definition of the system concept/architecture and fundamental analysis framework, the design and development of enabling technologies, as well as the evaluation and validation of the proposed innovations.

The TERRANOVA workplan is organised around 3 main objectives.
1. To design Tbps capable THz devices and interfaces, involving the challenges of HF-frontend and antenna interface, baseband digital signal processing, Tbps analog baseband for wireless and appropriate beamforming.
2. To design and develop THz wireless access and backhaul networks, involving the challenges of super-wideband channel, molecular absorption loss and distance-dependent bandwidth.
3. To design an end-to-end optimised THz system architecture, involving the challenges of hybrid system concept and architecture definition, baseband DSP for the combined optical-wireless Tbit transmission links, and optical RF-frontend for optical to THz interfacing.
During the first reporting period TERRANOVA addressed successfully all its objectives and goals and produced high quality deliverables. The main technical achievements are:

• System Requirements, Concept and Architecture: the TERRANOVA use cases and application scenarios have been identified, the system requirements qualitatively and quantitatively specified and the system candidate architectures and network elements defined and described.
• THz Wireless Link Design: a generic channel model has been derived, along with a simplified one, and measurements for several indoor materials have been conducted in order to accurately model the THz propagation environment. Pencil-beamforming algorithms have been devised and beamforming tracking has been studied and analytical capacity evaluations have been carried out, in order to assess the impact of various THz critical parameter.
• THz Wireless Access and Resources Management: several MAC protocol features have been studied, a novel user association scheme has been proposed, a receiver-initiated transmission initial access scheme has been assessed and a caching approach suitable for TERRANOVA has been specified.
• THz System Technology: the identification and specification of the most promising component options and architectures was accomplished, the frequency plan and the feasibility of the anticipated link performance was experimentally validated, basic analog and digital beamforming schemes have been evaluated and the most promising candidates have been selected for the implementation of the first functions of the TERRANOVA media converter.
• THz Demonstrator Implementations and Validation: the most promising integration approaches for the co-integration of state-of-of-the-art optical transponder modules with the THz wireless front-end were identified, i.e. two different solutions based on IM/DD and on coherent optical transponder technologies. Towards the implementation of the baseband unit, an error-free 100 Gbps data transmission was shown to be possible with suitable offline DSP algorithms.
• Dissemination: several conference and journal paper are already published (and many more are expected), presentations have informed a large dynamic range of audience about the TERRANOVA vision, work and results. The first TERRANOVA Workshop has been organised and strong and active participation in the dissemination and communication activities of the H2020 THz projects cluster was pursued.
• Standardisation: a presentation to the IEEE 802.15.3 THz was given and this and other relevant standardisation bodies have been identified and opportunities for contributions are being pursued.
• Exploitation and Business Modelling: the main focus was on the elaboration of scorecards evaluating the business potential of project outcomes.
Taking up the challenge to empower European scientific excellence, especially in the DSP domain, the main impact envisioned is to accelerate knowledge and technology transfer from long-term research coming from academic and industrial labs closer to validation, exploitation, standardisation and productisation.

TERRANOVA carried out the work during the first reporting period (and continues the work into the second reporting period) in full alignment and synchronisation with its workplan and fully focused on its impact maximisation goals, namely:
• Validation of disruptive communication concepts, technologies and architectures, by exploiting the unprecedented potential of the THz frequency regime by means of:
-Co-design of optical and wireless, backhaul and access;
-Co-design of channel models and waveforms, signals and coding, beam-patterns and medium access control schemes;
-Introduction of pencil-beam system concept and definition of channel and interference models, waveform design and MAC protocol design;
-Derivation of novel fundamental performance limits of a THz communication system, based on the development of deterministic network information theoretic framework.
• Proof of applicability of challenging spectrum regions towards innovative and cost efficient applications by means of
-Validating new possibilities for cost efficient silicon technologies;
-Designing baseband digital signal processing techniques to allow de-emphasis, frontend correction and impairment mitigation in combined fibre optic and wireless Terabit transmission links;
-Devising baseband digital signal processing algorithms for higher-order modulation formats and optimised coding.
• Advances in signal processing and information theory including,
-Hybrid integration with silicon baseband signal processing, controlling and calibration possibilities;
-Development of baseband digital signal processing algorithms for combined fibre-optic and wireless Terabit transmission links;
-Support implementation of real-time coherent system solutions on the analog side with focus on new concepts of assisted carrier phase and frequency synchronisation using different frequency bands;
-Derivation of a novel network information theoretic framework, taking into account the channel characteristics in high frequencies and ultra-wide bandwidths.
• Industry competitiveness with exploitation of academic research through transfer of innovation towards industry, in particular SMEs or start-ups.
TERRANOVA System Concept
TERRANOVA General Network Architecture
TERRANOVA poster