Terranova – thinking beyond a network standard

October 6, 2017, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Functional prototype of a 300 GHz multichannel wireless system. Credit: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

The future is digital: interconnected machines exchange huge amounts of data in real time and the demand for high data rates in the financial sector and in data centers is increasing by the day. Meanwhile, rural areas still lack fast data transmission rates and threaten to fall behind.

The upcoming mobile radio standard 5G promises an enormous increase in performance in wireless communication. According to the Federal Network Agency's reports, existing frequency bands are not going to suffice as the demand for stable wireless communication will continue to increase in the years ahead.

Together with Fraunhofer HHI and European partners from industry and research Fraunhofer IAF is starting the project Terranova. Its primary goal is it to embed wireless links with carrier frequencies in the THz range into fiber optic links and thus enable very high data rates on the entire path. Also, the development of new frequency bands is part of the project. Terranova is funded by the European Commission within "Horizon 2020".

Wireless data transmission with up to 400 Gbit/s for network expansion

By combining established fiber optics with the microwave technology, scientists aspire to enable a network connection in the THz frequency range stable enough to transport data wirelessly at a rate of up to 400 gigabits per second. To date, such transmission rates are only possible using pure glass fiber connections. However, the laying and routing of the fiber can entail high costs and effort, which is one of the reasons why divert more and more from technology's current state of the art.

"We are working on a transfer from optical to wireless , one could say from 'radio over fiber' to 'fiber over radio,'" explains project manager Thomas Merkle from Fraunhofer IAF. IAF researchers are developing and testing the hardware implementations of the future-oriented structure in close collaboration with Fraunhofer HHI.

Though limited in scope at 300 GHz, the great advantage of wireless links is their ability to easily bridge water, as well as mountainous or inaccessible terrain. Today, mobile radio base stations are already supplied with data via radio, but with very limited data rates. In contrast to the complex laying of fiber optic cables, data transmission via radio can be realized quickly, easily and wirelessly over a distance of up to one kilometer using the point-to-point wireless link technology.

The advantage of the wireless THz radio communication lies within the big variety of possible applications: It can be of interest both for "Smart Factories" with connected machines and devices, as well as for the connection of base stations supporting the expansion of and wifi networks. The integration of THz communication represents a real alternative to the classical glass fiber networks for the long-term expansion of high-speed internet in rural areas as well as for wireless connections in .

With the combination of wireless link and fiber optics, the Terranova project is taking a step towards future data networks beyond the 5G standard.

Explore further: Terahertz wireless could make spaceborne satellite links as fast as fiber-optic links

Related Stories

World record in terrestrial radio transmission

May 23, 2016

Transmitting the contents of a conventional DVD in under ten seconds by radio transmission is incredibly fast – and a new world record in wireless data transmission. With a data rate of 6 Gigabit per second over a distance ...

Power amplifiers for 5G made of gallium nitride

August 1, 2016

The wireless data transmission via mobile communication is reliable and affordable. However, data volume per user is rising exponentially. Causes are not only the continuously growing number of smartphones, but also trends ...

Recommended for you

1 in 3 Michigan workers tested opened fake 'phishing' email

March 16, 2018

Michigan auditors who conducted a fake "phishing" attack on 5,000 randomly selected state employees said Friday that nearly one-third opened the email, a quarter clicked on the link and almost one-fifth entered their user ...

World's biggest battery in Australia to trump Musk's

March 16, 2018

British billionaire businessman Sanjeev Gupta will built the world's biggest battery in South Australia, officials said Friday, overtaking US star entrepreneur Elon Musk's project in the same state last year.

Origami-inspired self-locking foldable robotic arm

March 15, 2018

A research team of Seoul National University led by Professor Kyu-Jin Cho has developed an origami-inspired robotic arm that is foldable, self-assembling and also highly-rigid. (The researchers include Suk-Jun Kim, Dae-Young ...

Tokyo Tech's six-legged robots get closer to nature

March 12, 2018

A study led by researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) has uncovered new ways of driving multi-legged robots by means of a two-level controller. The proposed controller uses a network of so-called non-linear ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.