Pharrowtech boosts millimeter-wave fixed wireless access coverage

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Pharrowtech, a spin-off initiative from the research and innovation hub imec, has demonstrated a prototype of a 60 GHz active phased array at the Telecom Infra Project Summit in London.

Pharrowtech’s solution paves the way for telecom OEMs to dramatically increase the range and field of view of backhaul nodes, access points and home units. It has been built using low-cost, high-volume chip and antenna technology and marks an important step towards accelerated deployment of cost-effective high-speed internet in rural, urban and suburban environments.

Fiber-to-the-home roll-out has proven prohibitively costly and slow, so wireless high-speed connections, known as fixed wireless access and enabled by the Pharrowtech technology, will be able to ensure fast and reliable deployment in a broad range of scenarios where fibre-to-the-home is not feasible. It eliminates the extremely high CAPEX of connecting individual premises by fibre. Leveraging the unlicensed 60 GHz band further reduces OPEX, resulting in a favourable total cost of ownership for telecom operators.

Commenting, Wim Van Thillo, program director at imec and Pharrowtech co-founder, said: “At imec, we have been pioneering low-cost mm-wave systems since 2005. Today, our modular design offers operators full flexibility to deploy in different neighborhood types having diverse building and vegetation densities while still meeting all regulatory requirements.

Our prototype’s long range and large field of view are achieved through 256 antenna elements driven by 128 power amplifiers. Its proprietary chips are fully realised in high-volume CMOS technology to ensure low cost and power consumption.”