Wireless Communication and Applications Above 100 GHz: Opportunities and Challenges for 6G and Beyond

We have never, in the history of the US, opened up spectrum above 95 gigahertz (GHz).

Now the FCC is opening up new spectrum, which allows us to move all the way up to the terahertz (THz) range. In this range, there are things we can do that we never thought our smart phones would do.

For the past ninety years, everything has been below 6 GHz – from FM radio to cellular to wifi. Opening the mmWave spectrum has given the US a great ability to compete on the world stage as we move above 6 GHz with bandwidths that we never thought would be possible.

Some people believe that you cannot do much with these frequencies above 95 GHz, but that’s what they thought about mmWave frequencies above 6 GHz. At NYU we showed that applications could work even better at these higher frequencies with more bandwidth than before.

When you get up to 100 GHz, you still have amazing amounts of spectrum – far more than we’ve ever had historically. This is because the air attenuation, or how much the oxygen and water vapor attenuate signals, is not bad up to 500 GHz. You can still have mobile communications, wifi, rural backhaul and so many other key capabilities at these frequencies. Because rain attenuation flattens out at 100 GHz, going above that frequency means that more rain will not impact the signal. Because of this, we will be able to design links well into the future.

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