Wireless technology to move from 4G to 5G – and thus boost the speed of connections – is what we all want. But in the meantime, a research group at the TU Eindhoven is already fully occupied with 6G, as a result of which data speeds will at least be a hundred times higher than they are now. The TU/e-spinoff MaxWaves, which wants to commercialize this idea, has been funded for an NWO-Take-off feasibility study.
In the system, developed in the research group of Professor Bart Smolders at the Department of Electrical Engineering, the antennas direct the signals electronically in the right direction, so that it is very energy efficient and the signals are not disturbed by weather conditions.
Around 2025, everyone will probably have switched to 6G. This means that the antennas on the base stations – which have to operate tens to hundreds of mobile users at the same time – will have to exchange far greater amounts of information than they do today. The technology to do this is now being developed.
The group of Prof. Dr. Bart Smolders has developed a new antenna technology that allows future base stations to be connected wirelessly with each other at extremely high data rates by using a whole series of electronically coupled antennas. These steer the radio beams in the right direction so that dishes with these antennas do not have to move physically in order to change the direction of transmission.
This technology uses very little energy and can continue to function optimally in all weather conditions, as electronic control can adapt directly to wind and rain disturbances. The electronic beam control ensures that no cables are needed in the ground and that the system can be electronically configured, making it very easy to temporarily expand network capacity, for example at a major event.
TU/e-spinoff MaxWaves will commercialize this system for future networks, and the Take-off feasibility study will build a new prototype that is more advanced than the two prototypes previously built. MaxWaves will be testing it in the lab and on the TU/e campus, and a market analysis will be carried out to arrive at a business plan.