IBM targets next-gen mobile networks with new transceiver

IBM has developed a transceiver that could support gigabits per second communications over a distance of more than one kilometre.

IBM has developed a compact transceiver that could support gigabits per second wireless communications over a distance of more than one kilometre.

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The phased-array transceiver could support next generation wireless communications networks by providing a high throughput link between mobile phone base stations and the backend network.

That throughput comes from the transceiver operating in the high frequency E-band of the spectrum, in the range of 90-94GHz.

The transceiver packs four phased array ICs and 64 dual-polarized antennas into a form factor smaller than an American nickel. 

Arrays of these transceivers packing in hundreds of antennas could transmit data at high speeds over a range of "kilometres", according to IBM, overcoming the short range typical of E-band communications today.

"This transceiver presents the highest level of integration achieved so far in a silicon-based solution for millimetre-wave frequency applications," said Dr. Alberto Valdes-Garcia, IBM Research, Communications and Computation Subsystem Group in a statement.

"It is a key step toward phased-array systems of the future that are scalable, low-volume, light-weight, and low-cost."

The transceiver could also provide a high throughput link in small cell infrastructure, such as in femtocell networks , and datacentre overlay network deployment.

The transceiver is fabricated using an IBM silicon germanium semiconductor process, and the ICs also integrate frequency synthesis and conversion, as well as digital control functions.