DRAGON

D-band RAdio 5G netwOrk technology

The vision

Reap the fruits of the RIA investments, by exploiting enabling technologies developed in the previous project H2020 DREAM, to demonstrate a wireless link transport capacity in the order of tens of gigabits per second in D-Band in an operational environment. This will be an important milestone to support the emergence of new markets and new market actors in Europe for the exploitation of the radio spectrum in D-band.

The main objective

The DRAGON project, through the exploitation of the radio spectrum in D-band (130-174.8 GHz)1, will overcome the constraints of current E-band wireless backhaul solutions to achieve a small-form factor and high-capacity radio solution, suitable for massive deployment, that will enable bringing the speed of optical systems to backhaul systems in a cost effective way. The DRAGON project vision and objectives rely on a power efficient and silicon based BiCMOS transceiver analog front end, operating in D-band and enabling cost efficient deployment of telecommunications networks with seamless fiber performance. A beam steering integrated antenna array using an intelligent low-cost packaging technology will be developed for the implementation of the 5G network demo trial on field, with fine beam alignment for facilitating the installation and compensating pole vibration.

The 5G and Dragon’s solution

The 5G represents the new generation of the mobile network infrastructure conceived to cope with a very large field of applications. In the next three to four years, communications service providers (CSPs) will run backhaul transformation projects to meet the needs of 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) service provisioning.

With mobile data traffic continuing to grow rapidly (40-fold between 2014 and 2020) and the imminent connection of 50 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices by 2025, CSPs are being driven to rethink their existing transport network architecture. All the telecom operators in Europe have the main objective to get hold the 5G core technologies and concretize the 5G cosystem infrastructure able to provide to their customers at the same time wireless bit-rate higher than 20Gbps, latency less than 1ms and connectivity density higher than 1 million per km2. Transport is the part of the network that comprises the intermediate links between the Core Network or backbone and the small sub-networks at the “edge” of the entire hierarchical network. Backhaul plays currently a vital role in mobile networks by acting as the link between RAN and the Core, as, a little bit later, will play the front hauling by acting as the link between RAN and a centralized radio protocol remote processing. DRAGON will reap the fruits of earlier R&D investments in mmW backhaul enabling technologies to provide a high capacity D-band (130-174.8 GHz) wireless back/front haul solution able to address the needs of 5G transport network.

The proposed project, opening to the introduction in 5G networks of frequencies beyond 100GHz towards 100Gbs capacity, supports the deployment of different applications and use cases for high capacity x-haul systems having hop distances of up to 1km:

  • Fiber replacement/extension
  • Cost effective small-cell BH for dense network Front haul and Mid haul
  • Carrier grade service due to licensed band Network reconfiguration
  • Automatic antenna alignment and pole moving compensation
  • P2MP and FWA for digital divide cancelling

Project data

Duration: 36 months
Start date: December 2020
Partners: VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, Ceit-IK4, STMicroelectronics, III-V Lab, Nokia Italy, University of Pavia (UniPV), Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik AG (AT&S), HCL Technologies Italy SpA, CEA-LETI,TTI, GreenWaves and Turkcell Premix Oy
Call: European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (H2020-ICT-2020-1)
Expedient number: 955699