The 5G vision for a fully mobile and connected society drives today the herculean efforts worldwide on designing, developing and commercializing the next generation of wireless networks that can address the huge requirements in terms of coverage, traffic capacity, reliability, latency and network energy efficiency. Main results of these efforts designate that a wireless technology with high agility, but optical fiber-like capacity is necessary in order to act as a natural extension of the core (optical fiber) network and deliver this massive capacity to the gNB or to the radio part of it.
Terahertz (THz) wireless communication technology with carrier frequencies in the 300 GHz regime has been designated as a possible candidate for this extension due to the abundance of bandwidth that can be found there. However, despite the technical progress and the individual achievements that have been made in the field, THz technology appears still to be short in turning its indisputable potential at the conceptual level into true industrial impact. Reasons for that include i) the challenge to take advantage of the available bandwidth and generate broadband signals of high quality in a practical way, ii) the challenge to develop a common technology base and iv) make the operation of THz links compatible at the component and the system level with operation of conventional mmWave links, and v) the challenge to overcome the difficulties in the handling and the propagation of the THz waves.
Within this context, TERAWAY comes as a technology intensive project aiming to develop a new generation of THz transceivers that can overcome these limitations and enable the commercial uptake of THz technology. Using optical concepts and photonic integration techniques, TERAWAY will make available a set of ground breaking transceiver modules including 4-channel modules operating from 92 up to 322 GHz, with possibility to offer 241 Gb/s total data rate, to have more than 400 m transmission reach in the THz band (and few Km in the lower bands), and with 4 wireless beams that can be independently steered and establish BH and FH connections between fixed terrestrial and moving network nodes.
At the end of this development, the TERAWAY transceivers will be evaluated at the 5G demo site of AALTO and NOKIA in Finland, under an application scenario of communication and surveillance coverage of outdoor mega-events using moving nodes in the form of heavy-duty drones. The network system will be controlled by an innovative SDN controller that will perform the management of the network and radio resources in a homogeneous way with large benefits for the network performance, energy efficiency, slicing efficiency and possibility to support heterogeneous services.