SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Battelle Memorial Institute has petitioned the US Federal Communications Commission to open up spectrum in the 102-109.5 GHz band to plow the way for wireless 10 Gbit/s Ethernet services. The contract research firm sees a wide range of uses for such services as a followon to today's Gbit services in the 70-80 GHz E band.
"Everyone is operating 10G fibre backbones and they need a backup, especially in cases of a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy," Philip Schofield, who manages wireless comms research at Battelle, told us.
The petition is out for public comment. Even if comments are generally favorable and the FCC decides to take action on the request, the process could take as long as three years, Schofield said. "We think, in a few years, it will be timely to have such standards in North America," and he hopes some large vendors will take up the cause. "Cisco helped drive the E-band standard 10 years ago, and a big switch maker like Cisco might have interest in this, too."
A handful of vendors provide systems for today's wireless Gbit Ethernet, including BridgeWave Communications Inc., Lightpointe Communications Inc., and Proxim Wireless Corp. They often use RF components from companies such as Millitech Inc. and Hittite Microwave Corp.
Battelle's petition calls for using beams just a few tenths of a degree wide with differential quadrature phase-shift keying modulation. Using versions of QAM, "you could get to 20-40G, maybe even 100G," he said.
The proposal is only for point-to-point links. Other researchers are calling for use of short point-to-multipoint links in upper bands for future 5G cellular connections in cities.
"As the antenna technology advances further at these frequencies, traffic could someday move to point-to-multipoint," Schofield said.
— Rick Merritt, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, EE Times