An ever growing use of wireless communication has created an enormous increase in mobile data traffic, which is expected to grow even more as new applications emerge in the future. Next generation networks now being studied promise drastically improved capacity and energy efficiency through new frequency bands (millimeter wave), more base stations (HetNets), and more antennas per base station (Massive MIMO). Their potential capacity gains will, however, be overshadowed by the tremendous energy consumption, complexity, and cost of realizing them with existing hardware solutions.
This project is dedicated to a new radio transmitter architecture directly targeting the needs in future wireless communication applications. By incorporating an all-digital transmitter approach all basic analog and energy consuming parts of a traditional radio transmitter (e.g. oscillators, modulators, D/A converter, etc.) are replaced by equivalent digital operations, which leads to an outstanding flexibility, scalability, energy efficiency, and low cost. By integrating it with emerging high-speed optical data interconnect technology, completely new possibilities for a lightweight radio transmitter suitable for future base stations are enabled. These unique features of the resulting all-digital radio-over-fiber (ADRoF) transmitter architecture are attractive also in a broader perspective and a wide-spread use in applications ranging from automotive radars, to smart antenna arrays, medical treatment, and low power Internet-of-Things (IoT) is therefore envisioned.
Our overall goal of the project is to investigate the ultimate limits of the ADRoF architecture. We will apply a truly multidisciplinary approach where all major components of the architecture, ranging from optical components, to RF circuits, and signal processing will be individually and jointly optimized for their use in the new architecture. With our research expertise covering exactly these areas, and with access to world-class microwave and photonics lab infrastructure at Chalmers, we are now in a perfect position to build the theoretical and experimental foundation for widespread exploration of the ADRoF architecture in the future.