DLINK - D-band Wireless Link with Fibre Data Rate

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Engineering

Abstract

The extraordinary increase of wireless data traffic by smartphones and laptops, virtual reality, billions of IoTs or Industry 4.0 infrastructure need 5G, small cell densification and reduction of digital divide. High throughput connectivity everywhere is a fundamental requirement to support the growing data demand and the evolution of future wireless communication market. Affordable wireless networks with fibre data rate are needed.
Wireless links with multi-gigabit (Gb/s) distribution at millimetre waves have been demonstrated up to 400 GHz. However, the strong atmosphere attenuation at the increase of frequency and limitations of the present semiconductor-based millimetre wave technology limit their potentiality. E-band wireless links with 2 GHz bandwidth and theoretical few Gb/s are already in the market, but large antenna footprint and low transmission power are probably preventing wider adoption.
The portion of the spectrum above 100 GHz includes numerous wide bands which are presently unused, and could support tens of Gb/s, if adequate millimetre wave technology were available. In particular, the D-band (141 - 174.8) has about 28 GHz split in three sub-bands.

The DLINK project aims to bring the UK at the forefront of millimetre wave wireless technology through the realisation of the first high capacity link at D-band with unprecedented performance, to provide 45Gb/s, over 1 km range, and with 99.99% availability in ITU rain zone K (typical of UK and Europe). The DLINK system includes a high power vacuum traveling wave tube (TWT) of new generation driven by a novel resonant tunnelling diode (RTD) transmitter with an integrated vector modulator. The system will be demonstrated in Frequency Division Duplex (FDD), with two bands of 10 GHz each to provide about 45 Gb/s data rate. The high performance of DLINK is enabled by traveling wave tubes as amplifiers, with about 10W output power, which is more than one order of magnitude than solid state amplifiers at the same frequency. The TWT working mechanism is based on the transfer of energy from a high energy electron beam, flowing in a waveguide with high level of vacuum, to the electric field generated by the input signal. No D-band TWTs are available in the market. Substantial challenges must be solved for an affordable microfabrication of mm-wave waveguides, due to small dimensions and three dimensional shapes. The transmitter will be an RTD oscillator with very low phase noise to support QAM modulation generated by an on-chip PIN diode vector modulator. The DLINK system includes two transmitters, one for each FDD channel, integrating a RTD oscillator/transmitter, a TWT and an antenna. For the first time, the property of a transmission link with 20 GHz bandwidth above 100 GHz will be investigated by field tests at BT.
The DLINK project has a strong industry focus. It is a collaboration between Lancaster and Glasgow Universities with the strategic support of the wireless communication industry full chain, from devices to end users: IQE (semiconductor wafers), Filtronic (mm-wave links), Teledyne e2v (mm-wave TWT), Nokia (system manufacturer), Intel (chip manufacturer), BT (UK main network operator and end user).
The high impact of the project will enable new architectures of wireless high capacity networks by mesh of high data rate links at mm-waves. The DLINK project has the ambition to fully contribute to "Connected Nation", one of the four Prosperous Outcomes and to benefit other numerous ambitions of the Prosperous Nation outcomes. DLINK involves researchers and PhD students of two leading research groups and a number of industry partners that will work together for the success of the project, with a long term strategy for future industry exploitation. A particular attention is devoted to growth of talent, improving the gender balance in the millimetre wave technology sector highlighting role models in the Lancaster and Glasgow teams.

Planned Impact

Internet access is recognised as commodity at the level of water or electricity.
The wide use of smartphones, laptops, the urgency of full UK broadband coverage, new data hungry applications such as IoT or car-to-car are posing relevant technology challenges. Fibre is widely deployed, but too expensive for a full coverage. Wireless networks are gaining interest among operators, however, a suitable solution for the high capacity needed has not yet been found. The use of the millimetre wave spectrum to replace fibre connections is the only viable route, but advancements in mm-wave technology are needed. This DLINK project offer of 45 Gb/s wireless long distance D-band link opens the route to deployment of unprecedented capacity wireless networks, with substantial and broad impact in the UK as outlined in the following.

Impact on economy
The development of state of the art technology at mm-waves, production of novel mm-wave devices, fabrication and testing of new wireless high capacity transmission systems will boost the UK industry capability in the fierce race for new wireless networks. The high number of key industrial partners in the project demonstrates the high impact expected at industry level. World Economic Forum estimates the global economic impact of 5G in new goods and services at $12 trillion by 2035.
The UK mm-wave industry has the opportunity to gain leadership and create new high qualified jobs in a variety of sectors such as micromechanics, materials, mm-wave and solid state technology, network architectures and protocols. In particular, Filtronic, SME in mm-wave wireless links, will open new markets as supplier of major players, such as Nokia or Huawei. Teledyne-e2v could expand TWT production for the wide 5G market. BT, the main UK operator, will benefit of the full UK supply chain to build affordable tailored wireless networks and offer high end services. High data rate connectivity is the enabler of the Industry 4.0 vision. The report commissioned by the UK government to Jeurgen Maier, Made Smarter, clearly states that digital manufacturing is a UK strategic priority that needs high data rate infrastructure. Finally, 5G is strategic for BT and all the UK mobile operators. One or two new university spin-off companies are expected as follow up of the project.

Impact on people
DLINK is a great career opportunity for the group of early career researchers and PhD students that directly and indirectly will be involved in the project. The close interaction with industry and the networking plan will permit to grow a new generation of leaders in mm-wave technology for a robust and long term progress in RF Engineering. In terms of improving the gender balance in the RF engineering sector, the hope is that role models already present in the research teams will help attract a diversity of brilliant minds to overcome the actual skills shortage in the sector.

Impact on society
The availability of ubiquitous Internet coverage with high speed is the pillar of the modern society. Society and people are more and more interconnected with services, e-healthcare, e-commerce, social networks, e-entertainment. It has been also estimated that any increase of data rate per users has a direct effect on the increase the GDP. A step change in connectivity to support the unstoppable increasing data traffic must be provided with new wireless infrastructures. The DLINK mm-wave high capacity link technology will to respond to this quest.

Impact on knowledge
The DLINK project aims to shift to the UK the leadership in mm-wave wireless technology, so far mostly held overseas. It will benefit of the experience developed by the team by three major European Commission Horizon 2020 projects. The following outcomes are expected: production of a high number of scientific outputs, advanced fabrication processes, new technical skills, new learning routes for undergraduate and postgraduate students, and technology transfer.
 
Description DLINK is new project to realize a point to point wireless system above 150 GHz with multigigabit per second data rate is in progress. The upper side of the D-band (151 -174 GHz) offers about 20 GHz with 3 GHz forbidden band for full duplex transmission. The aims it to enable fiber on air capacity with more than 1 km range to provide up to 45 Gb/s data rate. The wireless system works in Frequency Division Duplexing and consists of two front-ends, each of them with a transmitter powered by novel traveling wave tubes (TWT) fed by a directly modulated Resonant Tunnelling Diode (RTD) oscillator. Two TWTs are designed using the double corrugated waveguide at 151 - 161.5 GHz and 161.5 - 174.8 GHz. Two TWT have been designed to achieve about 35dB gain and 12 W output power to satisfy the link budget in the bands. The electron gun and collector were built and tested. The slow wave structures are in fabrication phase.
Exploitation Route The aim is to provide a wireless solution to replace fibre. The TWT will be ready at the end of the award to demonstrate the features of the DLINK system.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics,Environment

URL http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/dlink/
 
Title Design and fabrication of a D-Band Traveling Wave Tube for millimeter wave communications 
Description The dataset contains all the data to generate the figures and the graphs in the paper. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Simulation of output power for D-band TWT 
URL http://www.research.lancs.ac.uk/portal/en/datasets/design-and-fabrication-of-a-dband-traveling-wave-...
 
Title Long-range millimetre wave wireless links enabled by travelling wave tubes and resonant tunnelling diodes 
Description Data of the figures in the paperDescription 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact First front end at D-band in Point to point for 45 gb/s data rate over one kilometre link. 
URL http://www.research.lancs.ac.uk/portal/en/datasets/longrange-millimetre-wave-wireless-links-enabled-...
 
Description DLINK 
Organisation Teledyne Technologies International Corp
Department Teledyne e2v
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We are in the design phase, when the electron gun is working we will start to discuss the TWT implementation.
Collaborator Contribution Participation to the Kickoff meeting and technical discussion
Impact Not yet available
Start Year 2019
 
Description DLINK Filtronic 
Organisation Filtronic
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We will provide the evidence of high power at D-band by TWTs
Collaborator Contribution Filtronic will help with the vector modulator
Impact N/A
Start Year 2019
 
Description 2nd Towards THz Communications Workshop, Brussels, 7th March 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This 2nd workshop aims at bringing together key actors currently working on, or having interest, in THz communications in order to explore future R&I plans for the period beyond 2020. The main goal of the workshop is an overview of the current state of the art of the research in this area, to discuss the main challenges still to be explored, to highlight key research directions for future R&I actions and to share opinions on the foreseen frequency bands which could be good candidate to be supported by the EU in the global allocation exercise.
The workshop was concluded by a panel session with the plenary speakers to summarise ideas and provide an input to EC for future calls.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://ultrawave2020.eu/second-thz-communications-workshop/
 
Description Member of Technical Programme Committee 2020 IEEE 3rd 5G World Forum (5GWF) Bangalore India, virtual, September 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Member of Technical Programme Committee 2020 IEEE 3rd 5G World Forum (5GWF) with responsibility to select the papers for the conference and promote the conference.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description @ClPaoloni 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Use of twitter account @ClPaoloni to disseminate the main event and achievement of DLINK
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://twitter.com/ClPaoloni
 
Description Chair of Panel On the impact of Economics on the 6G technologies, at 2020 IEEE 31st Annual International Symposium on Personal, Indoor and Mobile Radio Communications (PIMRC), Virtual. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Neuromorphic computing, Tactile Internet, pervasive Virtual/Augmented Reality (VR/AR), telepresence, and first quantum computing deployments can be named as some of the new ingredients of the forthcoming 6G system. In addition, Terabit links will not be only the backbone of a network architecture, but will also be needed to enable data hungry applications at user level. Fascinating concepts (it is already predicted brain to mobile or brain to brain) and guaranteed user experience are so far beyond any currently available networks.

As the step towards 6G seems quite steep from the technology point of view, indeed economic aspects will even play a bigger role than in the just ended definition of the 5G system. Bigger leap forward in user experience and capabilities of a system imply huge investments.
How sustainable are such investments, in parallel to the ones needed to make 5G networks a reality not only in city centers but for a ubiquitous experience?
Do we need to have new or different stakeholders, in order to make the vision of 6G a commercial reality as well?
Is the assessment of new or better technologies 'enough' to have them deployed in the market or some other ingredients are to be added to the equation to make 6G a success for all the players in the ecosystem?

The panel will explore the above mentioned and some more aspects, defining the backstage of the 6G, investigating the subtle relationship between economics and technology.

The four distinguished panelists have a diverse background and word leading expertise to offer an insight in the complex path of the 6G system definition and the impact that Economics has on it.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description DLINK Sponsored Forum Session Speakers: China and Europe together for beyond 5G 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The advert says.
THz wireless communications is the emerging field for enabling 5G and beyond 5G networks. High technology challenges, high implementation costs, relatively limited knowledge of the propagation scenarios need an outstanding research effort to bring THz communication systems from laboratory to real environment.
Europe and China are at the forefront of the THz communication technology.
This panel will explore by the contribution of distinguished panellists the great opportunity of a common road map between Europe and China for a quantum leap in THz communications.
The audience will be invited to engage with the panellists proposing questions before the panel and discussing from the floor in an informal manner.
Panel Chair: Prof Claudio Paoloni Panelist:
1. Prof. Maziar Nekovee (University of Sussex, UK)
2. Prof. Wei Hong (Southeast University, China)
3. Dr. Hairui Liu (China Institute of Information and Communication, China)
4. Dr. Haroon Khan (Huawei, Germany)
5. Mr. David Vizard (Vivatech, France)

It was a panel session very successful with presentations from the panelists to stimulate the discussion. Prof. Claudio Paoloni as moderator led the engagement with public. The audience much appreciated the event that had to be stopped due to the time constraints, but it would have continued. The outcome has been very important to foster a much stronger collaboration UK?China in the field of THz wireless communications.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://imws2014.eecs.qmul.ac.uk/technical-activities/panel-session/
 
Description DLINK Website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Website to disseminate the activities of DLINK. It is updated with new results when available.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/dlink/sample-page/
 
Description Kickoff meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Kickoff meeting was organised to inform the main stakeholder interested in the DLINK project and project partners of the aims, evolution and future perspective of the project.
10.00 Arrival and coffee
10.30 Claudio Paoloni Welcome
DLINK aims and perspectives
Traveling wave tube technology at Lancaster University
11.00 Edward Wasige RTD technology at Glasgow University
11.30 Andy Sutton, BT Small cell backhaul discussion
12.30 Lunch
13.30 Discussion on specifications, approach, contribution of project partners.
15.00 Kick-off end.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/dlink/sample-page/
 
Description Member Technical Programme Committee 2020 European Conference on Networks and Communications (EuCNC 2020), virtual, June 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Member Technical Programme Committee 2020 European Conference on Networks and Communications (EuCNC 2020), review of papers for the conference and promotion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.eucnc.eu/2020/www.eucnc.eu/index.html
 
Description Special Invited Session 2: THz Communications 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Organisation of a special session on THz communication by inviting relevant expert in the field. The session was much appreciate by the audience for the high level of the talk and the discussion with speakers.

11:00-11:20
Short Range Multi-Gigabit Wireless Links
Prof. Edward Wasige
University of Glasgow, UK
11:20-11:40
GaAs Schottky Components for a 300 GHz Communication System
Prof. Yi Wang
University of Birmingham, UK
11:40-12:00
Review the Progress of Silicon Based THz
Prof. Kaixue Ma
Tianjin University, China
12:00-12:20
High Speed Signal Processing for Terahertz Band Communications
Prof. Zhi Chen,
University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, China
12:20-12:40
THz spatial modulator based on the active 2DEG metasurface
Prof. Yaxin Zhang,
University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, China
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://imws2014.eecs.qmul.ac.uk/technical-activities/special-sessions/special-session-thz-communicat...
 
Description Stand at EUMW2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact A stand has been set at the Exhibition at EUMW 2020 with the UKRI/EPSRC Research Cluster on "RF, Microwave and Millimetre Wave Device Engineering for Wireless Connectivity toward 6G".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Website UKRI/EPSRC Research Cluster on "RF, Microwave and Millimetre Wave Device Engineering for Wireless Connectivity toward 6G". 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Website http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/epsrcrffor6gcluster/
for UKRI/EPSRC Research Cluster on "RF, Microwave and Millimetre Wave Device Engineering for Wireless Connectivity toward 6G".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/epsrcrffor6gcluster/
 
Description Workshop From Evolution to Revolution, a roadmap for beyond 5G - 2019 IEEE 5G World Forum, Dresden, Germany 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact 5G is not yet fully deployed, but its initial definition based on challenging targets, e.g. 1000 k connections per km2, billions of IOTs, 10s Gb/s connections, 1 ms latency, has been surpassed by unpredictable and new scenarios stemmed from the fast changes of the modern world. 5G is more a new environment rather than a distribution modality of internet. As soon as 5G started, its transformation and mutation are continuously reshaping it. It was an evolution, now it is a revolution.
As all the revolutions, enthusiasms, actions, ideas, achievements flourish every day. The question is: what after the revolution?
This workshop takes energy from a formidable congregation of leading scientists, members of the first ever cluster of EC Horizon 2020 projects. The ICT Beyond 5G Cluster is formed by the successful projects of the call ICT 09, worth more than €20M. Seven projects complementary and visionary funded to respond to the 5G revolution.
The workshop will explore new streams beyond 5G by invited speakers, by discussing the latest results of the H2020 projects members of the cluster and by soliciting visionary contributions from the 5G community.
The aim is to stimulate a collective brainstorming to predict where the revolution is heading, what the technology can achieve and what impact will be on future deployment, economy and society.
At the end of each talk, instead of the typical Q&A, audience will be asked to extract key concepts and noted on a virtual board.
Three focus groups in three different key areas will collate key words and concepts with the aim to shape future visions of beyond 5G.
A panel session will challenge those visions to converge in one or more "beyond 5G" revolutionary scenarios and landscapes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/wf5gworkshopb5g/