Pharrowtech boosts millimeter-wave fixed wireless access coverage

Imec spin-off initiative demonstrates 60 GHz phased array system with 256 antenna elements

LEUVEN (Belgium), OCTOBER 16, 2018 — Pharrowtech, a spin-off initiative from the world-leading research and innovation hub imec, announces that it will demonstrate a prototype of a 60 GHz active phased array at the Telecom Infra Project Summit in London (October 16-17, 2018). Pharrowtech’s solution paves the way for telecom OEMs to dramatically increase range and field of view of backhaul nodes, access points and home units. It is fully built using low-cost, high-volume chip and antenna technology. This marks an important step towards accelerated deployment of cost-effective high-speed internet in rural, urban and suburban environments.

Fiber-to-the-home roll-out has proven prohibitively costly and slow. Wireless high-speed connections, known as fixed wireless access and enabled by the Pharrowtech technology, can ensure fast and reliable deployment in a broad range of scenarios where fiber-to-the-home is not feasible. It eliminates the extremely high CAPEX of connecting individual premises by fiber. Leveraging the unlicensed 60 GHz band further reduces OPEX, resulting in a highly favorable total cost of ownership for telecom operators.

Wim Van Thillo, program director at imec and Pharrowtech co-founder, said: “At imec, we have been pioneering low-cost mm-wave systems since 2005. Today, our modular design offers operators full flexibility to deploy in different neighborhood types having diverse building and vegetation densities while still meeting all regulatory requirements. Our prototype’s long range and large field of view are achieved through 256 antenna elements driven by 128 power amplifiers. Its proprietary chips are fully realized in high-volume CMOS technology to ensure low cost and power consumption.”

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Hanne Degans
press communications manager - imec
Wim Van Thillo
Program director at imec and Pharrowtech co-founder

About Pharrowtech

Pharrowtech is a spin-off initiative currently incubating at imec. Pharrowtech designs next-generation solutions for fixed-wireless access, wireless VR/AR and ultra-high capacity wireless links. It builds on more than 12 years of top-notch R&D performed at imec. Leveraging deep technical expertise in algorithm, chip and antenna design for millimeter-wave systems, it creates products with best-in-class performance, power and cost features.

About imec

Imec is the world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, energy and education. 

As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together more than 4,000 brilliant minds from over 85 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. In 2017, imec's revenue (P&L) totaled 546 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at www.imec-int.com.

Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.) and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited), imec Florida (IMEC USA nanoelectronics design center).

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