ThoR is an international research project with European and Japanese partners with the goal to develop technical solutions for communication networks in the context of Beyond-5G technologies.
Wireless communication is one of the fastest growing industries, influencing our daily lives. It is obvious that today’s technologies will not be able to keep up with this exponential growth in the demand for high data rate. This is why scientific and industry communities are both looking seriously into the spectrum above 200 GHz. In the last decade a lot of activities in this area have been reported. Very high data rates, above 100 Gbps, which is equivalent to transmitting the content of a blue-ray in a quarter of a second, have been achieved by different groups using different technologies. All these extremely fast wireless experiments have been conducted using pseudo random bits and expensive digital to analog and analog to digital converters.
The scope of ThoR is to bring terahertz wireless communication a step closer to real life application by combing state-of-the-art modems in E and V band (70/80 GHz and 60 GHz) with 300 GHz electronic up and down converters. This involves the usage of a superheterodyne architecture, which has never been realized before at such high frequencies.
The ThoR consortium plans an ambitous demonstration of the world's first point-to-point link over 1 kilometer at 300 GHz using emulated real data in a live operational network. As a first step a demonstration of the concept was carried out using existing hardware available in the ThoR consortium. The transmission experiment was realized in a laboratory environment using 300 GHz transmit and receive modules developed in a previous project, Terapan (www.terapan.de). This previous project was designed for another architecture, with no intermediate frequency, therefore the goal was not to achieve extremely high data rates, but to show the feasibility of the concept and of the superheterodyne architecture. Even with far from ideal conditions the demonstration was a success. Data rates of up to 60 Gbps and high modulation formats, up to 64-QAM were achieved. As a comparison today’s state of the art indoor wireless connection have a maximum data rate of 2.4 Gbps. Furthermore, the transmission distance of 10 meters shows that the link is perfectly suitable for indoor applications like smart offices and data centres. Another success was the transmission of a multi carrier signal, extremely important in the concept of ThoR, where different channels in the lower frequency of the E- and V-band will be parallelized to achieve real time high data rates. For more information about this demonstration please watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1zatU6Gfbk.
Besides contributions in the demonstrations ILH is also responsible for the circuit design of the 300 GHz up and down-converters, which will be fabricated in the Fraunhofer IAF 35nm InGaAs mHEMT technology.
This project has received funding from Horizon 2020, the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, under grant agreement No. 814523. ThoR has also received funding from the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Japan.