New Standard for Wireless Transmission Speed Set by Northrop Grumman and DARPA

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., the USA (, 28 August 2018, Editor: Galina Zdravkva, Photo credit: Northrop Grumman/ Northrop Grumman and DARPA 100 Gbps link demonstrated over 20 km city environment in Los Angeles.

Northrop Grumman Corporation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have set a new standard for wireless transmission by operating a data link at 100 Gbps over a distance of 20 km, learned

That was revealed in a news release on the website of Northrop Grumman in the middle of last week, 22nd August 2018.

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The two- way data link, which featured active pointing and tracking, was demonstrated on 19th January 2018 in Los Angeles.

The demonstration was carried out after the successful completion of Northrop Grumman’s Phase 2 contract for DARPA’s 100 Gbps (100G) RF Backbone program.

The Research and Technology Director at Northrop Grumman Louis Christen commented, “This dramatic improvement in data transmission performance could significantly increase the volume of airborne sensor data that can be gathered and reduce the time needed to exploit sensor data. Next generation sensors such as hyperspectral imagers typically collect data faster, and in larger quantity than most air-to-ground data links can comfortably transmit. Without such a high data rate link data would need to be reviewed and analyzed after the aircraft lands.”

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The successful data link is based on the integration of several crucial technologies. The link operates at millimeter wave frequencies (71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz) with 5 GHz of bandwidth, or data carrying capacity, and it uses a bandwidth efficient signal modulation technique for transmitting 25 Gbps data streams on each 5 GHz channel. For doubling the rate within the fixed bandwidth, the data link transmits dual orthogonally polarized signals from each antenna. In addition, the link transmits from two antennas simultaneously (spatial multiplexing) and uses MIMO (multiple-input-multiple-output) signal processing techniques for separating the signals at two receiving antennas, thus again doubling the data rate within the fixed bandwidth.

Part of the 100G team of Northrop Grumman are also Raytheon – for the development of the millimeter wave antennas and the relavant radio frequency electronics and Silvus Technologies – for the provision of the spatial multiplexing and MIMO signal processing technologies.

The flight test phase of the 100G RF Backbone programme will further demonstrate the 100G air-to-ground link up to 100Gbps over a range of 100km and extended ranges with lower data rates.

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