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Mobile networks

LG Elec takes quantum leap in 6G with THz band breakthrough

LG Electronics and Europe's largest applied research lab has successfully transmitted data in THz band over 100 meters

By Aug 20, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

LG Electronics in Germany successfully transmitted data in 6G THz frequency over a 100-meter distance.
LG Electronics in Germany successfully transmitted data in 6G THz frequency over a 100-meter distance.

LG Electronics Inc. has made a breakthrough in next-generation networks by transferring wireless 6G terahertz (THz) data over a 100-meter distance in an outdoor setting, for the first time in the world.

LG Electronics said that it successfully transmitted and received data between the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and the Berlin Institute of Technology, both in Germany, within a frequency range of 155-175 gigahertz (GHz) on Aug. 13. LG added that the milestone was achieved in collaboration with Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest applied research lab.

“The success of this test demonstrates that we are ever closer to the successful application of THz radio communication spectrum in the upcoming 6G era,” said I.P. Park, president and chief technology officer (CTO) of LG Electronics.

The THz spectrum of bandwidth, necessary for 6G communications, refers to frequencies between 100 GHz (0.1 THz) and 10 THz. Experts note that the new milestone puts LG’s technological capabilities much ahead of the major global players in the field. They highlight that Samsung Electronics Co.’s data transmission using a 140 GHz wireless link in June was achieved indoors over a much shorter distance of 15 meters.

“While leading firms such as Huawei and Nokia have achieved data transmission in 6G bandwidth, none of them succeeded it over 100 meters in an outdoor setting,” said an industry official.

LG noted that the company and its technical partner Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft were able to make some key technological achievements as well. They successfully demonstrated the “adaptive beamforming” technology that alters the signal’s direction in accordance with changes to the channel and receiver position, and “high gain antenna switching” that combines output signals of multiple power amplifiers before transmitting them to specific antennas.

The power amplifier made by LG and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft can generate stable signal output up to 15 decibel-milliwatts (dBm), one of the highest levels in the world, in the frequency range of 155-175 GHz. As 6G THz has a short range and experiences power loss during transmission, one of the biggest challenges in wireless 6G has been securing sufficient power amplification to generate a stable signal across ultra-wideband frequencies, said LG.

The global standardization of 6G networks is targeted for 2025 and mass-commercialization is expected to occur by 2028. The 6G network system, in theory, can be 50 times faster than 5G by transmitting up to 1,000 gigabits per second (Gbps). The commercialization is projected to accelerate the expansion of multiple sectors that require real-time data transmissions such as robot surgery and metaverse.

Meanwhile, LG Electronics in June was elected chair of the Applications Working Group of the Next G Alliance, the industry initiative of the US Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) to advance mobile technology leadership in 6G for the next decade. ATIS is an American industry association that aims to advance the business priorities of US-based information and communication technology (ICT) companies.

LG Electronics in Germany successfully transmitted data in 6G THz frequency over a 100-meter distance.
LG Electronics in Germany successfully transmitted data in 6G THz frequency over a 100-meter distance.

LG has been a key player in 6G research since 2019 with the establishment of the LG-KAIST 6G Research Center in partnership with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), the country’s foremost research university. Earlier this year in March, LG and KAIST brought on board Keysight Technologies Inc., a global manufacturer of wireless telecommunication testing and measuring equipment, to take their 6G collaboration to the next level.

“Our successful partnerships with local and global research institutions and organizations to advance the development of 6G capabilities have been very rewarding,” said the LG Electronics CTO.

Write to Min-jun Suh at morandol@hankyung.com

Daniel Cho edited this article.
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