Beam has developed a wireless module that combines a 60 GHz phased array antenna along with active RF beam steering electronics into a unified, compact (4cm x 2cm) package. The goal has been to achieve a solution capable of extended transmission ranges of up to 400m with data throughputs exceeding 10 Gbps.
The rise of smartphones (especially for watching video – YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, etc.) has caused exponential growth in data usage across cellular networks. The ability to expand and densify these networks utilizing a gigabit wireless mesh networking solution, rather than with expensive fiber optic cabling, is highly desired. Also, in many markets, the ability to quickly set up and configure a gigabit wireless mesh network through the use of automatic beam steering is of tremendous value
Current wireless backhaul solutions consist of large, bulky microwave radios with dish-style antennas that must be manually (laser) aligned. Gigabit-capable fiber optic cable is not always accessible. In combining together RF silicon and a phased array antenna based on cutting-edge materials, Beam has developed a gigabit wireless module solution ideal for the backhaul requirements of next generation of 4G/LTE, 5G and broadband wireless access networks.
Solution at a Glance
The genesis of Beam’s technology is derived from many years of radar and data transmission research and experience. Beam’s 60 GHz wireless technology is based on combining silicon germanium RF chips with an extremely small array of antennas to generate a focused beam which can travel hundreds of meters in distance. Unique analog beam-steering electronics allow the antenna array to automatically steer and shape the beam in order to eliminate manual positioning and maximize the throughput of the gigabit wireless data link.
- Compact 60 GHz wireless transceiver module – Combines RF electronics including automatic beam steering control with phased array antenna.
- Full 60 GHz radio platform (Codename ‘Alberto’) – Compact, ruggedized, outdoor box solution that includes 60 GHz wireless transceiver with digital baseband and automatic beam steering control.
Customer Challenges and Benefits
Low cost installation: Beam steering automatically links two radios without time-consuming and labor-intensive manual alignment.
Rapid installation: Small size enables rapid turn-up of service without the need for scheduling expensive equipment for trenching (fiber installation) or crane mounting (microwave installation).
Low capital cost: Small and efficient design has lower capital cost than microwave transmission systems.
Last-mile fiber performance: Capable of 2.5 to 10 gigabit per second transmission rates, comparable to fiber, and up to 400 hundred meter range.
Unique Selling Points and Differentiators
The goal of Beam’s efforts has been to develop a 60 GHz wireless transceiver module that will enable a wireless mesh backhaul network. This kind of network is highly prized by the cellular mobile service providers because it increases the density of the mobile network and allows for the support of more mobile clients at higher data rates. Exponential growth in the use of smartphones for video consumption (Netflix, Facebook Live, YouTube, etc.) is driving this trend. The key unique features enabled by Beam include …
- Compact size – Ability to mount onto a lamppost, bus shelter or building
- Low cost – Approximately 10x less than current solutions
- Gigabit throughput – Ability to match fiber optic cable
- Beam steering / self alignment – Eliminate technician manual alignment costs