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April 22, 2024

NTT and Tokyo Tech Usher in Ultra-Fast 6G Era

Imagine a world where your internet connection is so fast that downloading an entire movie takes less than a second, where doctors can perform surgeries from miles away with real-time precision, and where self-driving cars communicate with each other to prevent accidents. It's not a scene from a sci-fi movie; it's a look into the future made possible by a groundbreaking technology developed by researchers from NTT and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

The research partners have created a 300GHz band phased array transmitter entirely based on Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (CMOS) technology, a type of circuitry that is both cost-effective and power-efficient. It's a big leap towards the 6G era of wireless communication, promising speeds over 100Gbps, which is over 100 times faster than what 4G offers today.

You could think of the transmitter developed by NTT and Tokyo Tech as a super-smart, super-fast postal service for data which uses a frequency band (300GHz) that is much higher than the one we currently use for mobile internet. This high-frequency band can carry a lot more data at once, similar to how a multi-lane highway can handle more cars than a single-lane road. The "phased array" part of the technology refers to how it can steer the data signals in specific directions without moving the transmitter physically, similar to how a lighthouse is able to rotate its light to guide ships. Combining this with CMOS technology, which uses very little power, makes the transmitter not only fast but also efficient.

The technology has several potential applications, especially as we move towards 6G wireless communication. Here are some examples:

1. Internet Access Everywhere

High-speed internet available everywhere, from the heart of the city to the most remote farms. Imagine students in out of the way locations accessing the same quality of education as those in technologically advanced countries, or small businesses in isolated areas tapping into global markets with the same ease as their urban counterparts.

2. Transforming Healthcare

High-speed, reliable communication could enable doctors to perform surgeries remotely through robots, patients to be monitored in real-time from the comfort of their homes, and medical data to be analyzed instantly by AI, leading to quicker diagnoses.

3. Making Roads Safer

Fast, reliable communication is crucial for self-driving cars to operate safely. They need to 'talk' to each other and to communicate with infrastructure like traffic lights to avoid collisions and manage traffic flow. This could make our roads much safer and greatly reduce traffic jams.

4. Building Smarter Cities

Smart cities could become a reality sooner than we think. High-speed wireless communication can help manage everything from traffic lights to power grids, reduce waste, and improve emergency services' response times.

5. Revolutionizing Entertainment

For entertainment, especially in AR and VR, this technology could provide truly immersive experiences without the lag that can break the spell of virtual worlds. Gamers and educators alike could benefit, offering new ways to play, learn, and explore.

6. Enhancing Industrial Efficiency

In the industrial sector, high-speed data transmission could revolutionize automation. Machines in factories could communicate more efficiently, leading to increased productivity, reduced errors, and lower costs. It could also facilitate more advanced monitoring of environmental conditions, contributing to sustainability efforts.

The development of a 300GHz band phased array transmitter is a big step towards the 6G future, promising to revolutionize how we live, work, and play. It's not just about making a faster internet; it's about making services more accessible, improving safety, and opening up new possibilities for innovation. It's exciting to imagine the many ways it could enrich our lives. NTT and Tokyo Tech have not just looked into the future—they've laid down the path to get us there.

NTT—Innovating the Future

Picture: Daniel O'Connor

Daniel O'Connor joined the NTT Group in 1999 when he began work as the Public Relations Manager of NTT Europe. While in London, he liaised with the local press, created the company's intranet site, wrote technical copy for industry magazines and managed exhibition stands from initial design to finished displays.

Later seconded to the headquarters of NTT Communications in Tokyo, he contributed to the company's first-ever winning of global telecoms awards and the digitalisation of internal company information exchange.

Since 2015 Daniel has created content for the Group's Global Leadership Institute, the One NTT Network and is currently working with NTT R&D teams to grow public understanding of the cutting-edge research undertaken by the NTT Group.