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How to meet future high speed wireless data challenges

Over fifty percent of the data sent through the Internet is now, for the first time, sent and received by smartphones and tablets; with these remote devices exceeding desktops. This is driven by consumers (chiefly accessing entertainment) and by new business opportunities, like the evolving telemedicine market; the growth with connected devices via the Internet of Things; and cloud technology. This will rapidly be added to by 4K video streaming, driverless cars, and augmented reality. These innovations will push wireless data to the zettabyte (1,000 billions of billions) level.

This rising use in data sent wirelessly requires new and more efficient ways. A big limitation with current technology is reliance upon microwaves, which the primary way that smartphones send and receive data. This is because of microwaves have a poor ability to pass through barriers and due to the amount of data that can be transmitted by microwaves being limited.

According to researchers from Lancaster University, the optimal way to provide data with ultra-fast download speeds is via packed grids of micro, nano and pico ‘cells’. The limitation here is how to feed a huge amount of data to a new maze of cells. Fiber is not seen as a suitable medium for this purpose; instead technologists need to look towards vacuum electronics, solid-state electronics and photonics. The academics state that the best option is to construct technologies that can exploit the whole millimeter wave spectrum beyond 100 GHz in Point to Multi point at D-band (141 – 174.8 GHz) fed by novel G-band (300 GHz) Point to Point high capacity links.

The research, as reports, forms part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 ULTRAWAVE project. The ULTRAWAVE idea is to look at an ultra-capacity layer that can achieve a 100 gigabit of data per second threshold, allowing for the complete implementation of 5G.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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