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Millimeter-wave Radio and Free Space Optics-Rivals or Friends?

  • ID: 661124
  • Report
  • PracTel Inc
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  • ADC
  • CableFree
  • E-band Communications
  • G4 Networks
  • Loea Corporation
  • Panasonic
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The report shows that 60 GHz radio can be useful in the design of high-speed (up to several Gb/s) wireless links as well as in the development of WPAN. Particular properties of this technology combine:

-High-level of frequency re-use
-Unlicensed wide-open spectrum

Cost was the main obstacle in creating 60 GHz radio applications. Off-the-shelf GaAs and indium phosphide (InP) discrete devices are available today to create 60 GHz radios, but they drive the cost of WPAN devices up to more than $10,000. However, by switching to metal-insulator electronics, which can be fabricated on standard CMOS lines atop ultra cheap plastic substrates, Motorola and other companies report being able to drive the cost down to rival that of semiconductors. By way of comparison, IBM estimates that its SiGe BiCMOS 60 GHz radio chips will enable WPAN devices to be priced as low as $100. With the progress in these developments, we expect that the 60 GHz radio WPAN and Fixed Wireless markets will be getting stronger in 2008-2009.

Designed for transmission of uncompressed video in the HD-format, 60 GHz WPAN very soon will compete with wired technologies and may reduce or even eliminate use of such expensive techniques as HDMI. In Fixed Wireless application, 60 GHz radio will deal with short (up to several hundred meters) indoor and outdoor channels.

Extending the analysis to the E-band, we provide reasons why this radio technology is becoming so popular-the FCC regulated 13 GHz of spectrum for the licensed use of these frequencies. Licensing in this band does not require going through a labyrinth of paperwork, or spending any significant amounts of money. This band allows creation of multi-gigabit data paths for distances of several kilometers. One of the main applications of these radios is replacement of fiber at the last mile.

Report provides marketing prospectus on E-band radio-with rapidly improving IC technologies and growing demand for fast-deployed and cost-effective high-speed data links these radios are in the winning position.

The commercial future of free-space optical communications remains uncertain. On the one hand, the push for ever-greater bandwidth could eventually outrun any RF capacity, forcing a shift to free-space optical. On the other, RF techniques have a long head start in inside-building applications, and the weather problem remains a severe one for optical inter-building links. Perhaps the best overall prospects are in space, where progress is being made in improving acquisition and tracking. Once these are perfected, the bandwidth advantages of optical free-space communications should open up a substantial market niche. Another application, which shows some strength, is FSO utilization in the hybrid systems. Such systems, built as a combination of mm-wave radio and FSO, provide necessary resistance to the environmental conditions and still support high-speed transmission.

The report summarizes recent trends in the FSO development and shows benefits of its use in some applications. The technology is perfecting, using multiple lasers and optical-microwave protection as well as advances in optics; it is also shifting from the 800 nm widow to the 1500 nm window, allowing more transmit power.

The report also analyzes the FSO market and provides its characteristics

This report addresses technologies, applications and markets for:

- Millimeter-wave radio: this includes communications links in the 60 GHz band as well as in the E-band (70 GHz, 80 GHz and 90 GHz)
- Free Space Optics.

The goal was to analyze the current status of these communications types and to emphasize their inter-dependence - hybrid systems, which combine FSO and 60 GHz radio in one system, allow reliable communications through longer channels than each technology may allow separately.

There are several motives for wanting to use millimeter-wave radio and/or FSO links; among them the most attractive are:

- The spectrum at very high frequencies is still rather undeveloped, and therefore more radio spectrum with wider bandwidths is available
- FSO system do not need any licensing
- The system capacity is higher at very high frequencies because the range of radio signals is limited, resulting in smaller cells. Therefore the same frequency can be reused at shorter distances
- FSO allows to transmit multi-gigabit per second signals
- The inherent security and privacy is better in FSO systems and at very high radio frequencies because of the limited range and the relatively narrow beam widths that can be achieved
- The spatial resolution is better at very high frequencies
- It is easy to realize Gb/s transmission
- The physical size of antennas at very high frequencies is small and it becomes practical to build complex antenna arrays and/or further integrate them.

The interest in mm-wave technologies was also sparked by decisions of regulatory agencies around the globe to release and regulate vast volumes of spectrum; and the progress in the chips design that made it possible to produce high-frequency IC with relatively low cost.

Research Methodology:

Considerable research was performed using the Internet. Information from various Web sites was studied and analyzed; evaluation of publicly available marketing and technical publications was also conducted. Telephone conversations and interviews were held with industry analysts, technical experts and executives. In addition to these interviews and primary research, secondary sources were used to develop a more complete mosaic of the market landscape, including industry and trade publications, conferences and seminars.

The overriding objective throughout the work has been to provide valid and relevant information. This has led to a continual review and update of the information content.

Target Audience:

This report provides the millimeter-wave radio and FSO technologies and market analysis and assessments. These materials are useful for service providers, vendors, network operators and managers, Enterprise IT staff, investors and end users seeking to gain a deeper understanding of millimeter-wave radio and FSO opportunities and barriers in the market growth.

The end users can gain thorough understanding of product’s market and capabilities as well as the economics of using these technologies products to improve cost efficiency.
Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown
2 of 3


  • ADC
  • CableFree
  • E-band Communications
  • G4 Networks
  • Loea Corporation
  • Panasonic
  • MORE
1.0 Introduction

1.1 General

1.2 Factors: 60 GHz Radio

1.2.1 Regulatory Climate

1.3 E-band

1.4 FSO
1.5 Goals

1.6 Report Structure

1.7 Research Methodology

1.8 Target Audience

2.0 60 GHz Radio Technology

2.1 General

2.2 Spectrum Specifics

2.2.1 Oxygen Absorption
2.3 Antenna

2.4 Radiation Limiting at 60 GHz
2.5 Combined Effect

2.6 Progress in the Chip Technology for mmWave Radio

2.6.1 Modulation

2.6.2 Specifics: Indoor

2.7 Wi-Fi and 60 GHz Radio

2.8 Summary

3.0 60 GHz Fixed Wireless-Last Mile

3.1 Details

3.2 Place

3.3 Addressable Market

3.3.1 General

3.3.2 Drivers

3.3.3 Forecast

3.4 Industry


CableFree Solutions




4.0 60 GHz Radio-IEEE 802.15.3c and Competition

4.1 General

4.2 Specifics

4.2.1 Benefits for WPAN

4.2.2 Applications

4.2.3 Challenges

4.3 Standardization and Development: WirelessHD, IEEE 802.15.3c and Other

4.3.1 WirelessHD Details: WirelessHD Technology Completion Amimon Issues and Progress

4.3.2 IEEE 802.15.3c Current Status Benefits Very High Throughput Group Diversity

4.3.3 ECMA
4.4 Market

4.4.1 General: Applications

4.4.2 Market Obstacles: Specifics

4.4.3 Forecast

4.5 Players and Projects









4.6 Comparison
4.7 60 GHz WPAN: Example
4.8 Advantages and Challenges

5.0 E-band Radio

5.1 General

5.1.1 Benefits

5.2 Regulations

5.2.1 Frequency Plan

5.2.2 Additional Characteristics

5.3 Major Applications

5.4 Market Prospective

5.4.1 Last Mile

5.4.2 Estimate

5.5 Vendors






E-band Communications



G4 Networks



Loea Corporation




Sophia Wireless

6.0 Free Space Optics: Technology

6.1 General

6.1.1 Specifics
6.2 Major Characteristics

6.2.1 Protection-Hybrid System

6.3 Applications

6.3.1 Requirements-Hybrid System
6.3.2 Inter-satellite Links

6.3.3 Intra-building Communications

6.4 FSO Benefits and Limitations

6.4.1 Weather Factor

6.4.2 Building Swaying

6.5 Design Issues

6.6 Customers

7.0 FSO Market

7.1 General

7.2 Market Drivers

7.3 Competition

7.3.1 Fiber Optics Cable

7.3.2 Microwave

7.3.3 PONs
7.4 Forecast
7.4.1 General Model Assumptions Structure

7.4.2 Forecast

8.0 FSO Vendors






Dominion Lasercom
IRLan Ltd.


LightPointe (Closed doors in May and opened it in August of 2006)






9.0 Comparison

10.0 Conclusions

List of Figures:
- Unlicensed Bands

- 60 GHz Connections

- Global Frequencies

- Spectrum Details

- Attenuation in 60 GHz Band

- Absorption Details

- Bands Features Comparison

- Addressable Market Estimate: 60 GHz Radio –Fixed Wireless ($M)

- Addressable Market Estimate: 60 GHz Radio-Fixed Wireless (Units)
- 60 GHz “Open” Spectrum

- IEEE802.15 Structure

- Market Estimate- WPAN 60 GHz Radio ($M US)

- 60 GHz WPAN Example

- Frequency Allocation

- Addressable Market-E-band radio-Last Mile Access ($M)

- Simplified FSO Diagram

- FSO Market Segments
- FSO: Equipment Sales-Addressable Market Estimate ($US M)

- FSO: Equipment Sales-Addressable Market Estimate (Systems 000)
- FSO Market Geography

List of Tables:
- Directivity

- 60 GHz Links Characteristics

- Performance Characteristics

- Bandwidth Utilization Details

- Attenuation

- Properties

- Required Speed

- Competition
- WPAN Technologies

- FCC Regulation
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3 of 3


4 of 3




-Dominion Lasercom
-IRLan Ltd.


-LightPointe (Closed doors in May and opened it in August of 2006)










-E-band Communications


-G4 Networks



-Loea Corporation




-Sophia Wireless








Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown