Terahertz communication

Terahertz communication

THz frequencies for the 6G spectrum

While 5G already uses very high mmWave frequencies, 6G aims at even higher frequencies beyond 100 GHz to meet demand for higher data transmission rates and also lower latency than 5G NR. The use of frequencies of up to 330 GHz for communication is currently the subject of academic research; for its part, the wireless industry is focusing on the D band (110 GHz to 170 GHz) and mid-band spectrum (7 GHz to 24 GHz).

6G communication will also operate at all frequencies already supported by current 5G networks however, such as the mmWave and traditional sub-8 GHz frequency bands.

What is more, a lot of applications are possible within these frequencies, such as non-destructive imaging (security scanners) and spectroscopy (material analysis).

6G will add new frequency regions
6G will add new frequency regions

THz communication is just one 6G technology component alongside integrated sensing and communication (ISAC) or joint communication and sensing (JCAS), AI and ML and reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS) though. It will in all likelihood be indispensable for meeting the target requirements for maximum throughput and extremely low latencies. Furthermore, THz communication gives rise to exciting new applications such as holographic communication.

Terahertz communication: research fields

The telecommunications industry is actively researching terahertz technologies and Rohde & Schwarz is supporting research activities at 6G organizations, universities and research institutes in Europe, Asia and the US. As an active partner in the 6G-TERAKOM project, one goal that Rohde & Schwarz is pursuing is research into and the development of a suitable wireless system with integrated antennas in the terahertz range. The D band (110 GHz to 170 GHz) is one of the main promising frequency bands for 6G research so far.

Rohde & Schwarz also coordinates the 6G-ADLANTIK project within which technologies and components are being developed for THz frequencies based on photonic-electronic integration. Such components can be used for fast data transfers as well as innovative measurement techniques.

6G terahertz technologies: the testing challenges

Considerable differences exist between microwaves, millimeter waves and terahertz technology. The THz range presents new challenges for semiconductor components and requires additional channel sounding campaigns to develop new channel models for even higher frequencies.

New semiconductor components are required for the THz range, which are suitable for the mass market. These components must deliver high output power at extremely high frequencies. This demand for greater bandwidth presents a major challenge for the semiconductor industry, as components such as power amplifiers (e.g. monolithic microwave integrated circuits) significantly influence how well the entire system works, including output power, efficiency, bandwidth and more.

The development of sub-terahertz communication as envisaged for 6G is moreover only possible on the basis of a solid understanding of the properties of electromagnetic wave propagation. Research on channel propagation measurements above 100 GHz is therefore essential in this as yet insufficiently researched frequency range in which propagation is strongly influenced by human bodies, vehicles and environmental conditions such as rain. Existing 5G channel models must be verified and fine-tuned to correctly reflect the impact of the environment, making the development of innovative and accurate THz measurement instruments a crucial step when it comes to 6G research.

Terahertz communication: our test and measurement solutions

Rohde & Schwarz is already actively addressing the requirements for 6G THz communication with existing and new innovative measurement and testing solutions for signal generation and analysis. It is helping to pave the way for the next generation of wireless communication and contributing extensive test and measurement expertise and an innovative solutions for 6G research. Most research activities focus on the D band, which is currently one of the most promising 6G frequency candidates.

The simple yet high-performance Rohde & Schwarz setup for investigating signals with channel measurements in the D band consists of

The benefits of our leading-edge testing solutions for 6G research:

  • Off-the-shelf instruments that are easy to mount and configure
  • Fully integrated and calibrated solution with defined frequency and output power
  • Frontends take up little space as an internal synthesizer provides a local oscillator (LO) meaning no additional analog signal source is needed for an excellent phase noise performance
  • Possibility to further enhance testing solution performance with smart accessories (e.g. bandpass filters, TX power amplifiers)

Want to discuss your specific THz communication test cases with our experts?

6G test solutions for THz communication applications

Rohde & Schwarz at Mobile World Congress 2024

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6G THz communications related news

Featured THz communication content

Semiconductor Technologies

Video: Semiconductor Technologies

There are several different semiconductor technologies that are currently being discussed for 6G.

Watch this video for a deeper insight into the main challenges and findings on semiconductor technologies

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THz Communication

Video: THz Communication

6G aims to support peak data rates up to 1 Tbps. Watch this video to learn how THz communication is being researched to meet this requirement.

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Webinar: Towards 6G: The role of photonics in THz communication

Webinar: Towards 6G: The role of photonics in THz communication

Watch this webinar to learn more about THz technology and new applications leveraging the strengths of electronics and photonics.

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Poster: 6G - from mmWave to Terahertz

Poster: 6G - from mmWave to Terahertz

Download our poster to learn about meeting the demand for extremely high data rates, verifying and fine-tuning channel models for sub-THz and estimated first use cases of THz communication.

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White paper: Fundamentals of THz technology for 6G

White paper: Fundamentals of THz technology for 6G

This white paper offers an overview of the fundamentals of THz waves and their properties for various applications with a focus on 6G based communications.

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Webinar: Testing 6G sub-THz communication

Webinar: Testing 6G sub-THz communication

In this webinar, you will learn about 6G use cases benefitting from (sub-)THz frequency bands, how to access the performance of D-band components and devices reliably and more.

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#ThinkSix – OTA measurements for sub-THz communication in D-band

Video: OTA measurements for sub-THz communication in D-band

This video demonstrates the R&S®ATS1000 antenna test system from Rohde & Schwarz, now supporting frequencies up to 170 GHz.

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Generate & analyze 4 GHz RF bandwidth signals in the D-Band

Video: Generate & analyze 4 GHz RF bandwidth signals in the D-Band

This video demonstrates how to generate, transmit over the air, and analyze a 4 GHz bandwidth single carrier signal with 16QAM modulation at 148 GHz.

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#Think Six - A simple to use setup for investigating signals in the D-Band

Video: A simple to use setup for investigating signals in the D-Band

Watch this video to get an introduction into 6G R&D in the 110-170 GHz D-Band and FE170 Frontends introduced by R&S.

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#Think Six - Channel measurements in the D-band

Video: Channel measurements in the D-band

In this video we demonstrate a test setup for investigating wave propagation properties at 160 GHz.

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ThinkSix - Phase noise characterization in the D-band

Video: Phase noise characterization in the D-band

This video introduces the topic of phase noise, demonstrates a test setup for investigating phase noise for the latest communication systems and shows extensions to the setup to investigate the higher frequencies.

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Article: THz Generation and Analysis with Electronic and Photonic Technologies

Article: THz Generation and Analysis with Electronic and Photonic Technologies

This article discusses three major approaches for generating THz radiation: classical electronics, direct THz generation with quantum cascade lasers and indirect generation optoelectronics.

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Webinar: THz communication - a key enabler for beyond 5G?

Webinar: THz communication - a key enabler for beyond 5G?

Watch this video to find out about technical challenges, over-the-air measurement of antenna characteristics in the sub-THz region and channel measurements in the sub-THz region.

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Poster: Microwaves and beyond

Poster: Microwaves and beyond

Get important RF lookup tables, signal level conversions, essential formulas and an estimation table for mismatch and measurement uncertainty in this poster.

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Application note: Measure noise figure above 110 GHz

Application card: Measure noise figure above 110 GHz

Rohde & Schwarz signal and spectrum analyzers equipped with the R&S®FSx-K30 option form the basis of a solution to accurately measure the noise figure in the millimeterwave frequency range using the Y-factor method.

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Application note: Measurement Setup for Phase Noise Test at Frequencies above 50 GHz

Application note: Measurement Setup for Phase Noise Test at Frequencies above 50 GHz

With recent enhancements in semiconductor technology the microwave frequency range beyond 50 GHz becomes more and more attractive. Read this application note to learn about phase noise analysis.

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Terahertz communication FAQs

What is the terahertz frequency region?

While terahertz technologies can be rather complex, terahertz itself is simply a unit of frequency equal to 1 trillion hertz. When it comes to 6G terahertz, the terahertz band in the 6G network ranges from 0.1 to 10 THz. This THz range is a research area for future 6G communication. There are different specifications for the THz range. IEEE ITU defines this range from 0.3 up to 3 THz.

What are terahertz waves?

Terahertz (THz) waves are electromagnetic waves located between microwaves and infrared light, which are used in different areas such as terahertz wireless communication. Wavelengths are in the range of 0.03 mm to 3 mm. The THz region is a key research area for 6G because it offers broad contiguous frequency bands to meet the demand for high data transfer rates.

Does 5G use terahertz?

The terahertz band involves frequencies above 100 GHz. 5G only uses frequencies up to 71 GHz however, which can impact the performance of terahertz communication applications.

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