Imec/Panasonic Develop 60 GHz Radio

LEUVEN, BELGIUM: It may not be long before you can have a 60 GHz radio in your living room beaming uncompressed HDTV or large media files around your house at up to 7 Gbps (over a short distance, of course). Imec and Panasonic have developed a 60 GHz radio transceiver prototype for industrial applications. If the price drops sufficiently, I can see this technology being used in high tech homes that want more data bandwidth than is possible with existing 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz Wi-Fi links.

The Imec press release provides the following technical details:

"Imec's transceiver front-end prototype IC (integrated circuit) achieves an EVM (error vector management) better than -17 dB for QAM-16 modulation in the four channels specified by the IEEE802.11ad standard, reaching data rates of 7Gbps over short distances. The TX (transmitter) signal path, consisting of a power amplifier (PA) and a mixer, consumes only 90 mW with 10.2 dBm OP1dB. The RX (receiver) signal path, consisting of a low noise amplifier (LNA) and a mixer, consumes only 35 mW with a noise [figure] of 5.5 dB, and 30 dB gain. The compact core area of only 0.7mm square makes this transceiver front-end solution particularly suitable for use in phased arrays. The area is kept low thanks to the use of lumped components even at 60 GHz, and very compact mm-wave CMOS layout techniques.

"We are excited that we achieved together with our partner Panasonic these excellent results," said Liesbet Van der Perre, scientific program director for green radios at Imec. "These results prove that our 60 GHz R&D program pioneers industry-relevant design solutions for low cost and low power 60 GHz phased array radios covering the system level, IC design and antenna design. We work towards a proof-of-concept for the complete system, compliant with the applicable industrial standards. We invite other companies to join our 60 GHz R&D program as research partner or they can have access to the technology for further development through licensing."

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.