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The future of wireless high data rates communications

There is an ever-increasing demand for wireless broadband applications. This includes wireless HD video streaming, wireless backhaul links, broadband internet access and mass files transfer applications. All of this emphasizes the need for low cost and efficient millimeter-wave (mmWave) systems. mmWave spans the frequency range from 30GHz to 300GHz. However, the most famous mmWave band is the unlicensed 60GHz band which is mainly used for short range data links with bandwidths up to 2.5Gbps.

Although there are huge interests, hopes and investments in 60GHz, the RF components' design, integration, fabrication and testing processes are orders of magnitude more complex than lower frequency systems. This is mainly attributed to the significant losses and parasitics experienced at high frequencies, as well as the lack of reliable design models. In addition, there is a high cost associated with high performance components. There has been significant efforts exerted into developing an on-chip 60GHz RF (including the antenna system); however, the efficiency and hence the power handling is a major issue. Antenna-in-Package is also another approach to enhance the efficiency, although it has its own implications.
At 60GHz, there is a real need for an all-integrated low cost solution where efficient building blocks are efficiently integrated. This calls for a multi-disciplinary approach which involves electromagnetic theory, integrated circuits, micro-fabrication, parasitics modeling and MEMS.


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