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60 GHz Residential Fixed Wireless Access

The demand for broadband is rising, and existing technologies are falling short in delivering the required capacity. Fiber-to-the-Home is a solution that bridges the “last mile” between the telecom provider’s network and the home but is considered expensive and difficult to roll out. The MM-WAVES project seeks to provide last mile connectivity using the low-latency, high-throughput 60 GHz frequency band. This enables fast integration into the operator’s network and a reduction of rollout costs by as much as 500%.

Fiber-to-the-Home: Great performance, high costs

The global telecom industry is having an increasingly difficult time keeping up with the demand for qualitative broadband internet access using technologies that are currently available. Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH), which involves fiber optics bridging the gap between operator network and the home or business, remains beyond the reach of many consumers.

Fixed wireless access poised on a growth spurt

An emerging alternative is fixed wireless access (FWA), which is estimated to be half as expensive as FTTH while supporting high-rate, low-latency, wireless communication. This is particularly interesting in remote areas with small customer bases, as well as in those with stricter regulations. However, underlying technical challenges related to wireless communication reliability, hardware and integration remain unsolved.

A proof of concept validated in a real residential environment

The MM-WAVES consortium will realize an FWA network and proof of concept for last mile access via the license-free 60 GHz frequency band, including hardware. In doing so, it has outlined a number of innovation and research goals, such as:

  • developing high-performance hardware for large-scale rollout that is also low cost;
  • investigating and designing solutions for optimal outdoor wireless communication via the 60 GHz bands;
  • validating the performance of a proof of concept in a real-life residential environment – subsequently ensuring the delivery of broadband services at a level of quality comparable to FTTH;
  • studying the integration of 60 GHz residential FWA with existing networks to provide current and future services and content to end consumers.

Ultrafast, wireless connectivity in the open air

The project’s proof of concept includes new technologies for extremely high-speed wireless communication. It offers a path forward in increasing customer density for operators and bringing more people higher-quality broadband connections at lower costs.

“The MM-WAVES project seeks to provide last mile connectivity using the low-latency, high-throughput 60 GHz frequency band. This enables integration into the operator’s network and reducing rollout costs by as much as 500%.”


60 GHz Residential Fixed Wireless Access

MM-WAVES is an imec.icon research project funded by imec and Agentschap innoveren & ondernemen.

It started on 01.10.2020 and is set to run until 30.09.2022.

Project information


  • Pharrowtech
  • Telenet Group NV
  • Unitron


  • imec - WAVES – UGent
  • imec - IDLab IBCN – UGent


  • Project lead: Tim Senden
  • Research lead: David Plets
  • Proposal Manager: Margot Deruyck
  • Innovation manager: Eric Moons