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Shorter and shorter: ETSI starts work on sub-millimetre waves

Thomas Kürner ETSI.jpg

Europe’s leading telecoms standards organisation has set up a new group to work on radio waves with less than a millimetre wavelength.

The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) says the new group on terahertz frequencies, will address a candidate technology for 6G mobile.

The ETSI Industry Specification Group on Terahertz (ISG THz) has already held its kick-off meeting and decided on work priorities.

Thomas Kürner (pictured), chair of the group, said: “ISG THz provides an opportunity for ETSI members to coordinate their pre-standards research efforts on THz technology across various European collaborative projects, extended with relevant global initiatives, a move towards paving the way for future standardization of the technology.”

Kürner is a former network planning executive at German operator E-Plus, absorbed into Telefónica in 2014, and is now a professor at Technische Universität Braunschweig.

The ETSI group will initially focus on two categories of use cases.

The first will include mobile applications with high data rate requirements, such as virtual and augmented reality, applications for in-flight and in-train entertainment, and vehicular and satellite communications.

The second category includes applications requiring both communication and sensing functionalities, such as holographic telepresence, and interactive and cooperative robotics.

The new group will concentrate on establishing the technical foundation for the development and standardization of THz communications, in the range 0.1–10 THz. That means a wavelength of 3mm down to 0.03mm, or 30µm (30 microns).

According to ETSI, based in Sophia Antipolis in the south of France, the ISG THz already has 31 participating companies. They aim to define the target scenarios and the concrete frequency bands of interest on THz communications.

“Of major interest to the members of ISG THz will be the analysis of specific radio propagation aspects for THz communications, such as molecular absorption; effect of micro-mobility; specific considerations for scattering, reflections, and diffractions, and considerations for near-field propagation,” said ETSI.

The group will develop channel models for the selected scenarios and frequency bands and finally establish a baseline for THz technology fundamentals, including antenna assumptions, simulation assumptions, and deployment strategies.

The ETSI group will support the future standardisation work by 3GPP, the international mobile standards body.