W-band wireless broadband system aims to streamline services

Rural blackspots and network congestion could end thanks to a new wireless high-speed data communications system under development by a European team led by engineers at Lancaster University.

The £2.8m EU-funded TWEETHER project aims to develop a W-band wireless broadband system to provide cost effective, high speed internet with a capacity up to 10Gbps and distribution of hundreds of Mbps to tens of terminals. This will allow current capacity and coverage challenges to be overcome.

The system will exploit unused portions of the spectrum utilising millimetre waves – extremely high frequency waves found between microwaves and infrared waves and will include a powerful and compact transmission hub, based on a novel travelling wave tube power amplifier and an advanced chipset in a compact terminal, with performance far outweighing any other technology.

‘The breakthrough of TWEETHER project is a novel wireless PmP (Point to multipoint) system that integrates a novel, compact, low cost and high yield Traveling Wave Tube (TWT) power amplifier at the transmission hub, to power an affordable high performance transceiver,’ said Claudio Paoloni, project co-ordinator and Lancaster University professor of electronics.

Specifications will be developed by operators including EE, Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia and Spain’s Avertis. Once these are in place, the team – which includes Thales Electron Devices, four SMEs including Bluwan, OMMIC, HFSE and Fibernova, Goethe Frankfurt University and Politecnica de Valencia – will start the design of the different components. These include a W-band traveling wave tube, multi-GHz band MMIC (Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit) chipset and a synthesiser.

After three years of design and development, the system will be tested at the University Politecnica de Valencia’s campus, the first ever test for a W-band transceiver.