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40Gbps speed record broken for wireless broadband

High-frequency radios may offer a solution to rural fibre shortcomings.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

German researchers on the hunt for wireless alternatives to fibre claim to have achieved 40Gbps wireless transmission speeds over a distance of 1km.

The speed is a new world record, according to researchers at the the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics (IAF) and the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology. The pair has built transmitters and receivers that operate at a 240GHz frequency — much higher than the the IEEE 802.11n standard, which operates on 2.4GHz with top speeds of under 1Gbps.

The 240GHz frequency supports speeds of up to 40Gbps, and the researchers managed to achieve a transmission between two skyscrapers one kilometre apart using 'long range demonstrators' that house radios using new high frequency chips.

"We have managed to develop a radio link based on active electronic circuits, which enables similarly high data rates as in fibre optic systems, therefore allowing seamless integration of the radio link," Professor Ingmar Kallfass, who coordinated the project at Fraunhofer IAF, said in a statement.

The wireless technology trial is part of Germany's €2m Millilink project, which is looking for ways to integrate wireless and radio links with optical networks to boost rural broadband access.

Germany's fibre broadband coverage is lagging behind that of other European nations, according to FTTH Council Europe statistics, and the researchers claim broadband radio links may be a cheaper method of delivering higher speeds compared with laying cable.

Besides higher speeds, the chips for transmitters and receivers that operate in between 200 and 280GHz can offer compact technical assembly. The chips developed at Fraunhofer IAF were 4mm by 1.5mm in size.

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