Tweether aims to set a milestone in the millimetre wave technology with the realization of the first W-band (92-95GHz) wireless system for distribution of high speed internet everywhere.
This system merges for the first time novel approaches in vacuum electron devices, monolithic millimetre wave integrated circuits and networking paradigms to implement a novel transmitter to foster the future wireless communication networks.
In particular, the main technological challenges to be faced are:
- Novel, compact, affordable millimetre wave Travelling Wave Tube (TWT) with 40W output power. Only vacuum TWTs, among all the available technologies, have been demonstrated to provide wideband operation and high power capabilities. The design of W-band TWTs for communication networks to be low cost, reliable and with a long lifetime requires a leap beyond the state of the art of current technologies and design approaches. At W-band numerous formidable challenges have to be tackled to achieve the defined specifications: fabrication tolerances, limits of the available microfabrication techniques, ohmic losses, difficult assembling, production yield and long lifetime.
- Advanced affordable and high-performance chipset. The chipset is a coherent set of the various monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs) enabling the low power operation of the system. Due to the very high cost of the mask set at W-band Silicon-Germanium (SiGe) is not suitable for small to medium quantities. In addition, high power levels of hundreds of milliwatts are not feasible with SiGe technology at W-band. For this reason, the technology of choice is definitively the short gate length GaAs. The high number of chips and the specifications represent a formidable challenge in terms of design and fabrication effort.
- W-band transmission hub and receiver integration. The complete front end will be realized with advanced micro-electronics and micromechanics. Then it will be assembled and packaged with interfaces and antennas for the field trial at the UPV facilities.
Tweether is funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 programme.