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Full duplex radio ICs transmit and receive at the same frequency

Engineering researchers from Columbia University in the US have devised a way to implement full duplex radio ICs in nanoscale CMOS. The devices are said to support simultaneous transmission and reception at the same frequency; something previously thought to be impossible. The team presented its work at the recent ISSCC event in San Francisco.

Engineering researchers from Columbia University in the US have devised a way to implement full duplex radio ICs in nanoscale CMOS. The devices are said to support simultaneous transmission and reception at the same frequency; something previously thought to be impossible. The presented its work at the recent ISSCC event in San Francisco.

"This is a game changer," claimed Associate Professor Harish Krishnaswamy. "By leveraging our new technology, networks can effectively double the frequency spectrum resources available for devices like smartphones and tablets."

With data communications facing a capacity crunch, the ability to transmit and receive at the same frequency could double network capacity. Prof Krishnaswamy noted that other research groups and companies have demonstrated the theoretical feasibility of simultaneous transmission and reception at the same frequency, but no one has built chips with this capability.

"Our work is the first to demonstrate an IC that can receive and transmit simultaneously," he claimed. "Doing this in an IC is critical if we are to have widespread impact and bring this functionality to handheld devices and in cellular and WiFi base stations to support full duplex communications."

The team now plans to test a number of full duplex nodes to understand gains at the network level. "We are working closely with Electrical Engineering Associate Professor Gil Zussman's group, who are network theory experts at Columbia Engineering. It will be very exciting if we are indeed able to deliver the promised performance gains," he concluded.

Author
Graham Pitcher

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Professor Harish Krishnaswamy from Columbia University has responded to Tony Stephens' question. "Indeed, we are subtracting the Tx signal at the receiver so that, after subtraction, the Rx signal can be received. It's a process also known as echo cancellation or self interference cancellation. "The key challenge is the fact that the Tx signal is 1billion times more powerful than the weak Rx signal that one is trying to receive. So, when we do the subtraction, we have to do it with a precision of 1 part per billion so that what's left is smaller than the Rx signal. "This is why full duplex has been impossible until today, but we have found a way to do this in a tiny silicon chip."

Posted by: Graham Pitcher, 17/03/2015
What do they mean? T-R-T-R pulse train? That would be TDM at a 2X internal clock. Cross-phase out/in? That would be PM. "Masked" Tx pulses wherein Rx is retrieved by subtracting Tx signal from baseline to read Rx signal in rcvr path? That would be amazing. More info needed.

Posted by: tony stephens, 16/03/2015

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