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European Consortium is Working on Next-Gen Antennas for Wireless Networks

A European consortium, with a focus on upcoming mobile communications standards, is now working on state-of-the-art antennas for wireless networks.

Transmitting more and more data even faster than currently possible: that is the goal of a new antenna technology being developed in the Horizon2020 project REINDEER. Image Credit: © elements.envato.com.

Austria is distinctly represented by Technikon, NXP, and the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz). The rollout of 5G network is the current focus in Europe but despite this fact, the European consortium comprising top research institutions and companies in the field of communications engineering and mobile communications is working on the technical viability of 6G network.

Austrian firms, such as NXP Semiconductors Austria, Technikon Forschungs- und Planungsgesellschaft mbH (as a coordinator), and TU Graz’s Institute of Signal Processing and Speech Communication, are considerably involved in the project.

The world is becoming more and more interconnected. More and more data has to be transmitted, received, and processed by a growing number of wireless devices—data throughput is consistently on the rise. In the Horizon2020 project REINDEER, we are devoting ourselves to these developments and investigating a concept with which data transmission in real time can be scaled practically to infinity.

Klaus Witrisal, Expert in Wireless Communication Technology and Researcher, Graz University of Technology

Antennas as Wall Tile or Wallpaper

But how is this supposed to work? Witrisal described the new strategy, “We want to develop what we call RadioWeaves technology—a kind of antenna fabric that can be installed in any location of any size –for example, in the form of wall tiles or wallpaper. So entire wall surfaces can act as antenna radiators.”

In the case of earlier radio standards, like LTE, UMTS, and now 5G network, signals are sent through base stations—that is, infrastructures of antenna that are eternally deployed at a particular place.

If the fixed infrastructure network is denser, the throughput will be higher (in other words, the proportion of data that can be sent and processed in a specified time window). But today, the base stations are in a gridlock.

If more wireless devices are linked to a base station, the data transmission will become slower and more unstable. That bottleneck would be prevented with RadioWeaves technology, “because instead of a single access point, we can hook in as many access points as we want,” Witrisal added.

Real-Time Inventory and Grandiose Stadium Experience

According to Witrisal, the technology is not required for homes but for public and industrial facilities, it provides opportunities that go much beyond the 5G networks.

If 80,000 people in a sports stadium, all equipped with virtual reality goggles, want to watch the decisive goal simultaneously from the perspective of the goal scorer, this will be possible in the future with a RadioWeaves antenna fabric.

Klaus Witrisal, Expert in Wireless Communication Technology and Researcher, Graz University of Technology

The radio waves would supply wireless power to the VR goggles. Similarly, the technology could provide unparalleled coverage in industrial halls and it would also be possible to detect scores of objects in real time.

On the whole, Witrisal believes that radio-based positioning technology has immense opportunities. This technology has been the focus of his working team from TU Graz. According to the team, the RadioWeaves technology can be used for locating goods with a precision of 10 cm.

This allows three-dimensional models of goods flows to be realized: for production and logistics through to augmented reality on the sales floor.

Klaus Witrisal, Expert in Wireless Communication Technology and Researcher, Graz University of Technology

The new project was initiated in January 2021. And by 2024, the European consortium is aiming to design the world’s first hardware demonstrator to experimentally test the RadioWeaves technology.

6G won’t officially be ready until the end of this decade—but when it is, we want to make sure that high-speed wireless access is where we need it, when we need it,” Witrisal concluded.

Source: https://www.tugraz.at/en/

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