Australian Communications Researcher Demonstrates 6 Gbps Wireless Link

Looking for a faster wireless link--one fast enough to transmit multiple uncompressed live HDTV video streams? You may be interested in technology being developed at the CSIRO ICT Centre in Mansfield, Australia.

CSIRO has achieved a data rate of over 6 gigabits per second over a point-to-point wireless connection at a modulation efficiency of 2.4 bit/s/Hz. The CSIRO team planned to demonstrate the system by transmitting 16 simultaneous streams of DVD quality video over a 250-meter link with no loss of quality or delays. CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization), the Australian national science agency, said this would utilize only one quarter the capacity of the link.

Australia's Minister for Communications, Information and Technology and the Arts Helen Coonan said, "What stands out for me is that other technologies have gone faster with lower efficiency or slower with higher efficiency but CSIRO has achieved both speed and efficiency in the one technology."

Dr. Jay Guo, director of the wireless technologies laboratory at CSIRO said, "The system is suitable for situations where a high speed link is needed but it is too expensive or logistically difficult to lay fibre, such as in congested urban environments, and across valleys and rivers. The system is also ideal for creating networks to meet short term needs such as emergencies and large events." Guo said they expect to achieve direct connections at speeds up to 12 gigabits per second.

By now, you've probably figured out CSIRO isn't using the 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz bands for these multigigabit per second links. According to the CSIRO Gigabit Wireless Networks Project Web page, the system uses frequencies in the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz bands. The organization acknowledges, "This is a challenging task, but to achieve it the project team is combining their experience in millimetre wave integrated circuit modules and high speed digital signal processing." The company notes on its Web page this high-speed wireless connectivity "will allow new business models to evolve based on the ability to collaborate anywhere, anytime on large, bandwidth-intensive projects such as film post-production."

Licensee-free wireless data radios operating in this frequency range can be ordered on the Internet, but all systems I've seen operate at data rates much less than a tenth the data rate CSIRO demonstrated.