New technologies developed by AT&S will soon allow network operators to utilize smaller base stations that can provide faster data transmission and lower latency while using less power. These breakthroughs will enable the upcoming 6th generation of mobile networks, finally fulfilling the promise of mobile broadband internet even in very crowded places.
While many countries around the world are still working hard to update their wireless data transmission networks to the current 5G standards, engineers at AT&S and some of the world’s leading research institutions are already working on next-generation mobile networks that can keep up with the continuously growing demand for high-bandwidth mobile data transmission that is driven by trends like virtual reality, augmented reality and ultra-high-definition. To keep our complex and globally connected systems of energy, traffic and information running smoothly, future 6G networks will have to utilize higher frequencies to transmit data wirelessly. This will allow for smaller antennas, efficient energy use and faster transmission speeds even in hotspots with huge numbers of connected devices.
To make this happen, a lot of new technology has to be developed. Frequencies above 140 GHz demand new types of highly integrated antennas that are connected to advanced Integrated Circuits capable of handling the high-speed deluge of incoming and outgoing data. In cooperation with its research partner IMEC, AT&S has already demonstrated that it is possible to build integrated systems that are able to meet these high demands by integrating state-of-the-art antennas and high-frequency ICs by IMEC into a monolithic package with unmatched performance. Advanced interconnect solutions by AT&S guarantee that signal losses, which become a major concern with higher frequencies, remain as low as possible.
Small, fast and energy efficient
Compared to currently used technologies, the integrated 6G package by AT&S and IMEC offers a five-fold reduction in transmission losses, a three-fold reduction in power consumption and a four-fold reduction of size, while still bringing all the speed and latency advantages inherent to 6G. To achieve this, AT&S uses its highly miniaturized substrate-like PCB technology in conjunction with integrated air-filled waveguides that optimize the signal-transmission in the package. Base stations equipped with this groundbreaking new tech will be able to finally fulfill the promises that network operators have been making since the current 5G standard was announced: High bandwidth, low latency – everywhere it is needed.
Engineers don’t sleep
In truth, with 5G, there are always tradeoffs between bandwidth and latency, especially in hotspots where demand for transmission is very high, as everyone who has been to a big sporting or music event knows all too well. With AT&S’s waveguide technology, 6G networks will be able to handle the traffic without making compromises. In the space that four 5G antennas take up, operators will soon be able to fit 20 6G antennas, which will massively increase network capacity. The first real-world implementations of 6G technology may still be a couple of years away, but AT&S has made sure that the necessary technology will be ready by then. And the engineers don’t stop there: They are already working on technologies like optical waveguides for integrated antenna systems that will be able even higher frequencies and data rates for mobile networks beyond 6G in the future.