Science & Technology - Millimeter Wave Technology

Millimeter Wave Technology

The goal of this research project is to nurture next-generation ultra-high-speed mmWave wireless communication technologies, working with the T.J. Watson Research Center. We are focusing on digital baseband technology with leading-edge modulation and coding algorithms, and demonstration systems running faster than 10-Gbps. We are also exploring how such high-speed wireless technologies can impact future IT systems for both business and consumer applications.

New Era of Wireless Communications

New mmWave wireless technologies such as 60-GHz band wireless are now very active research areas offering new advantages: In particular, 60 GHz enables high-speed wireless data communication in a wide spectrum. Also, thanks to its small wavelength, its highly directional propagation characteristics can be controlled with lower spatial interference and smaller antenna arrays. As a result, a huge aggregate wireless communication capacity can be implemented efficiently by reusing frequencies.

These mmWave technologies are expected to advance rapidly and drive various applications in commercial and enterprise business applications. For example, the technology shows high potential for data centers where complex and messy wiring and associated maintenance are becoming serious problems. With high-data-rate wireless links among the server racks, traffic bottlenecks can be resolved dynamically and the overall network performance can be improved. These mmWave links can be used for wireless interconnections among electronic devices, in audio-visual devices, in car-to-car communications, and in mobile devices for seamless connections to existing wired networks.

New mmWave research at IBM Research - Tokyo

The IBM Research study of mmWave technologies involves collaborations among laboratories around the world in areas spanning from device technologies to systems. Important focuses include high frequency analogue circuit design and fabrication, antenna design and packaging, algorithm design and implementation for digital baseband signal processing, and system-level integrations involving customers.

The team in Tokyo is mainly focusing on developing algorithms for signal processing of a digital baseband and doing system-level experiments with a flexible FPGA-based platform. The team has created an FPGA-based real-time end-to-end communication system for prototype systems handling uncompressed HDTV video streaming, high-speed file transfers, wireless Ethernet packet transfers, and other applications. This platform is allowing our team to experiment with and evaluate the performance of the signal processing algorithms for mmWave wireless communications. In addition, the team is focusing on ways to increase the performance of the entire network, such as overcoming hot-spot bottlenecks and making the network more resilient by dynamically supplying additional mmWave links to bypass congested parts of an existing network topology.

Here are the major research areas of our millimeter wave project: