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NTU Achieves a Major Breakthrough in Ultra High Speed Wireless Communication Technology - Making Wireless High Definition Television a Reality

Imagine a world in which information flies around at will - the TV set, stereo Equipment, and camcorders, etc., in your drawing room are all connected by a high speech wireless network, which can transmit high definition, non compressed audio-visual programs to every corner of your house in the twinkling of an eye; also imagine that every airport, bus station or train station there is a kiosk in which you can download movies and games at any time, you only need to spend seconds to download a high definition movie whose contents exceed several gigabytes, allowing you to while away your time while you wait for your departure.

Furthermore, imagine that without the use of a connecting cable, you can upload thousands of photos from your digital camera to your computer, sharing them with your friends; and, while you are in your office, you can transmit myriads of files by utilizing the high speed wireless network and all you have to do is to use your fingertip to click the mouse. This kind of unimpeded high speed information is just around the corner, the transmission rate of which can reach 100 times the speed of WiFi, and 350 times the speed of 3.5G cell phones, while the total power consumption can be under 1/40th of that of conventional chips of the same type, and the surface area of the chip can be reduced to 1/10th of the conventional chips. As the cost of the new wireless chip can be only a fraction of the traditional communication modules, its market potentials are virtually limitless.

Professor Jri Lee of NTU's Graduate Institute of Electronic Engineering held an announcement of his outstanding research achievements on November 3rd, in which he unveiled his newest research product, an ultra high speed wireless communication system on chip (SOC). President Si-chen Lee graced the occasion with his presence, along with Vice President Dr., George Tai-jen Chen, Director of the Office of Research and Development Dr., Liang-gee Chen, Dean of the College of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Dr. Soo-chang Pei, and Director of The Institute of Electronic Engineering Dr. Shey-shi Lu.

Vice President of Mediatek Inc., Dr. //Kuo-hung Lu//, was also invited to attend the announcement. This ultra high speech wireless communication system chip successfully integrates RF front end circuits, frequency modulation circuits, as well as antenna groups. By utilizing 60 GHz high bandwidth, it achieves the highest transmission rate of 5 Gb/s, which is more than sufficient for the 1.5 Gb/s standard required of High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI). In the future, the audio visual equipments at people's homes can be expected to be integrated through the installment of ultra high speed wireless network, which not only does away with the tangled mess of connecting cables, but also provides high quality audio and video services to the home owners.

This new short range, low power, and high transmission 60 GHz system chip developed by Dr. Jri Lee's research team uses the state of the art 90 nanometer manufacturing process. It successfully integrates all circuits into the chip, and its biggest breakthrough lies in its use of improved methods of modulation, which greatly reduce the power consumption and the complexity of the circuitry, while reducing the service area to about 1/10th of the old chips. In addition, its breakthrough single chip and antenna integration technology cuts the cost of the circuits to the minimum. It is estimated that this totally integrated transmission receiver costs only U.S. $1 per unit. Compared with the conventional assembly type communication modules (costing tens of dollars), this new product enjoys a distinct market advantage.

As many portable devices such as cell phones and digital cameras require low power consumption, designing a low power consuming product is of vital importance. At present, the total power consumption has been controlled to be under 300 mW, roughly 1/40th of the existing chips that are of the same type. Professor Lee points out that, 60 GHz is the prevailing international commercial band wave that does not require a license. Since the low frequency band waves are too narrow in their bandwidth and too crowded, mm band waves are the only choice for next generation broadband communications.

This young professor also points out that, since 60 GHz tends to be absorbed by the oxygen existing in the atmosphere, in the transmission process it will not interfere with distance communications, and as such is particularly suitable for short range high speed applications. Precisely owing to its limitless potentials, the world's leading industries and research agencies such as UC Berkeley, IBM, and Japan's NEC and Fujitsu, etc, put forth all-out efforts to develop wireless communication technologies. Yet, up to the present, the researches we've seen mostly focused on partial block developments, rarely was there a highly integrated product.

The reason being, 60 GHz band wave is more than 30 times the frequency used by modern day cell phones (GSM, 1.8 GHz), and the difference in speed between the two is like the difference between a high speed railway and a bicycle, and the circuit design is much more difficult for 60 GHz. Professor Lee also emphasizes that, the prototype on display at the announcement is only the most rudimentary type. In the future, when more efficient antenna arrays are used, under the same low power consumption model, this new product will be able to handle a transmission distance of more than one meter.

As the system chip is quite complete in design, with a relatively simple circuitry, it possesses a strong ability to combat noise, and is therefore very suitable for integrated practical application. This ultra high speed system chip is the achievement of Professor Jri Lee and members of his research team, who have spent years delving on this project. Their scholarly eminence is published in the top notch international journals, particularly the thesis on "A 75 GHz PLL in 90 nm CMOS" won the distinguished awards of ISSCC (International Solid State Circuit Conference) in 2007 and 2008 (the best editing award and the best paper award).

ISSCC is tantamount to the Olympic Games for the international electronic research field, every year hundreds of excellent papers from the industries and universities are presented at ISSCC. To date, Professor Lee's paper is the only paper from Taiwan that was presented at ISSCC. In the history of ISSCC, it is also the only paper that won two awards in a row. This goes to show that Taiwan's achievements in electronics research top the world.

In the future, Professor Lee's research team will continue to improve on the wireless communication technology, make its communicative power more efficient, and put it to practical use at an early date, so as to make people's lives more comfortable and more convenient through the advancement of information technology.

Chinese version