Feeds

4G? Pah! Boffins charge up the dial to 5G data EXTREME-band kit

The wide open bands where a man can breathe free

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

A project headed by New York University has scored $2m to fund research into 80GHz radio, as a potential home for 5G in the spectrum land rush up the dial.

$800,000 is coming from the US National Science Foundation, the rest from commercial companies and from NY State as represented by Empire State Development. The money will be spent trying to get 80GHz signals working over useful ranges and around obstacles with the avowed intention of making the space usable for 5G telephony.

These bands is well above what one would normally consider valuable spectrum: the really good frequencies are below 1GHz which is why they're all full of radio and TV transmissions. Working further up the dial needs new skills, and new research, with very few people understanding just how signals propagate in the "Extremely High Frequency" bands.

Back when radio started the first frequencies used were around 2MHz, so anything below .3MHz is known as Low Frequency, while anything above 3MHz is "High Frequency". When FM radio came along it needed more space, so it sits around 88MHz in the "Very High Frequency" band which stretches to 300MHz. Television, a relatively-late arrival, got slotted in around 600MHz in the "Ultra High Frequency" which runs up to 3GHz and thus covers existing mobile phones and wi-fi connections.

Above that we have "Super High Frequency", which runs up to 30GHz to cover the second wi-fi band (802.11a, at 5GHz) and more-esoteric LTE deployments, and finally we have "Extremely High Frequency" where WiGig is already having a hard time getting itself deployed and where the new team reckons 5G could comfortably sit.

Beyond EHF is the charmingly-named-but-not-ITU-approved "Tremendously High Frequency". That runs all the way up to infrared light which has already demonstrated its networking utility.

WiGig is still having functional problems at 60GHz, not least because of the lack of engineers with experimental experience. Some radar engineers do know the band, but not well and there aren't enough of them to go around.

Given the inability of EHF signals to penetrate walls or travel more than a few meters one might imagine the applications would be limited, but walls can often be walked around by picking up reflected signals, and range increased by clever encoding and better antennas, which are the areas the New York team will be focusing on.

Radio frequencies might be limited, but the tech moves at an astounding rate. A modern wi-fi access point isn't just processing radio signals, it could well be tracking the distance and direction of every connected device, creating narrow beams of radio directed at your pocket as you walk across the office. The 2.4GHz band was given away as it was considered worthless, only to become the most-heavily used spectrum on the dial.

The far end of that dial is still very empty and it will be interesting to see what the NY researchers can fill it with. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.