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Communicating Over Short Distances: A Leap Forward

Scientists in Chennai have designed and developed a special device- a 60 GHzAntenna, for transmitting large size ( or high bandwidth) wireless signals  over short distances. The Antennae has several applications, including in modern multi-storeyedapartments and complexes, where large data has to be moved over short distances.

Evolution of Telecommunications

The discipline of Telecommunications has come a long way , from prehistoric man using signal fires, to  Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone in 1876 to transmit speech electronically, to the modern day wireless forms of transmission. “We wanted to be part of the innovation that is taking place in the telecommunications industry, especially in inventing new antennas. We believe it is one of the most exciting fields in engineering”, said Dr Rama Rao, leading the research at SRM Institute of Science and Technology (formerly known as SRM University), Chennai. He went on to add that building a 60 GHzantennahas helped pushed the boundaries of two way communications over short distances.

The Basics of Antenna

For any telecommunication system to operate successfully it needs two ingredients: a transmitter and a receiver. Someone has to call and someone has to answer. What the antenna does is that it doubles up as a receiver and transmitter in a two way communication process. Without an antenna, radio waves cannot be propagated or received, and communication would not be possible.

The Current Trend

A trend that is observed in today’s wireless communications is the demand for moving largeamounts of data over short distances. “The landscape of wireless communications is changing rapidly from transferring small size data (kbps or kilobits per second) over long distances to transferring large amounts of data (Mbps or megabits per second) over short distances.”, explained Dr Rao, “We went in for the 60 GHz frequency band as it had the potential of handling large size data, in multiple giga bits per second range”, he added

Breaking Frontiers

The 60 MHz antenna that has been successfully tested and employed in the study has been shown to provide several advantages:  large spectral capacity so that data can be moved more quickly, compactness and small size, and its extraordinarylow weight.The Antennaalso utilises a natural phenomenon seen at 60 GHz band, where it absorbs large amounts of oxygen, leading to lower co-channel interference, or the cross talk that happens when two different radio transmitters are using the same frequency. 

Way Forward

The new Antenna is a small but significant step forward in finding solutions to the ever complex system of moving large amounts of voice, data and video simultaneously. Hopefully the new device will stimulate further thinking and research in the ever changing backdrop of telecommunications engineering, impacting the lives of millions of people like no other invention has done before.