Mm-wave wireless communication

Imec develops 60GHz phased array beam steering transceivers and antenna modules for high data rate WiFi and 5G small cell backhaul.

Introduction

License our transceiver IP in white box mode or join our 3-year research program to access our system models and algorithms, system platform development, antenna module design, chip designs and more.

60 GHz WiFi for high data rate

802.11ad/WiGig, the 60GHz WiFi standard for high data rate can be used (typically in an indoor scenario) between mobile devices, such as tablets and laptops and an access point, for transfer of a HD video over several meters, among numerous applications. The standard foresees 4.5Gbps over several meters, line-of-sight. 

Imec’s solution (called PHARA4) is a small (10 mm by 5 mm) 4-antenna module with a 4 TX-RX phased array transceiver chip in 28nm CMOS. Our transceiver chips have demonstrated 4.5Gbps data communication over 1 meter, and 1.5Gbps over 10 meters.

Features

Imec’s wireless communication solution, PHARA4:

  • supports all 4 channels of the 802.11ad / WiGig standard, 58.32 - 64.8 GHz;
  • enables beam steering: 
  1. meshed network where another receiving node can be selected in case line-of-sight is blocked – resulting in improved continued operation
  2. allows a remote electrical adjustment of the beam direction, without any personnel needed to manually adjust the beam direction; for 5G deployments, this enables lower maintenance costs for the telecom operator – important, as in an urban small cell scenario, there are many nodes to be maintained
  • uses down-conversion (zero IF) and the beam steering (phase shifting) happens in the analog baseband;
  • supports QPSK and 16QAM;
  • energy efficient with a high EIRP (radiated power) of 30dBm (16 antenna);
  • DC power is 425mW Tx and 350 mW Rx Pdc;
  • for the 16-antenna module, the scan range in azimuth is 120 degrees, in elevation is 60 degrees, the beam width is about 5 degrees;
  • features beamforming phase resolution ~ 5º (fine control over the beam angle);
  • features beamforming amplitude resolution ~1dB (fine control of the range).

5G small cell backhaul

5G small cell backhaul connects small cells in an urban scenario where broadband is needed to wirelessly connect small cells because it is more expensive or too slow to set up fiber optic backhaul connections.

This solution is ideal for scenarios where extra high bandwidth is needed only for a short time – such as a concert, or a disaster zone – or where it is more flexible and practical to have wireless backhaul modules, as they can be put on street lights or house facades in urban areas, where an alternative fiber optic solution would require more time due to regulation or the need for obtaining approvals for installation.

Imec’s solution (PHARA5) features beam steering (phase shifting) in the RF domain and targets 64QAM. It is a multiple TX-RX phased array transceiver chip with a large antenna array as needed for longer range 5G backhauling. Our 16-antenna array with 4 transceiver chips features a 1.5Gbps data communication over 100 meters.

We have prototyped the RF front-end and can offer a license to the front-end chip and submodule. Our LDPC processor block (over 20Gbps) can be licensed, and we also offer a license for our 3.5Gbps ADC with 7 bit, 6mW dissipation.

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