For many years I posted a weekly "Cool Pic" item derived from articles I read in magazines and websites. I'm not sure why I stopped doing so - probably due to lack of time - but seeing this über-cool-looking 16-element antenna array that operates at 83 GHz prompted this post. At initial inspection it appears to be a 16-port switch unit because unless you are familiar with how small an 83 GHz antenna can be, those devices hanging off each port look like push-on coaxial connectors, but they're not. This work is being done by engineers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in a project researching how to best increase available wireless channel frequencies and bandwidth (i.e., data rates).
Per the NIST web page:
"Smartphones and tablets are everywhere, which is great for communications but a growing burden on wireless channels. Forecasted huge increases in mobile data traffic call for exponentially more channel capacity. Boosting bandwidth and capacity could speed downloads, improve service quality, and enable new applications like the Internet of Things connecting a multitude of devices. To support wireless communications at higher frequencies offering more channel capacity, NIST engineer Kate Remley led development of this new 94 gigahertz calibrated signal source for testing receivers and other devices. NIST researchers developed this directional 16-antenna array to support modeling of wireless communications channels at 83 gigahertz. To help solve the wireless crowding conundrum and support the next generation of mobile technology—5G cellular—researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are developing measurement tools for channels that are new for mobile communications and that could offer more than 1,000 times the bandwidth of today's cell phone systems "
Note: I first saw this in the June 2015 edition of Nuts & Volts magazine.
Posted on June 12, 2015