Kent’s School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA) is working on intelligent antenna technologies for 6G which are expected to revolutionise the telecommunications industry and have significant impacts on society. Professor Steven Gao explained this:
‘Wireless communication technologies inside cell phones and other mobile devices have evolved rapidly over the past several decades. The 1G (the 1st generation of cellular wireless communications), with the voice only network, started in 1980s, and then the 2G in 1990s, the 3G in 2000, the 4G in 2010, and now we are in the transition from the 4G to 5G.
‘Although 5G has not been fully implemented, the world is in a race to develop 6G. Currently expected to be in use by 2030, 6G promises to provide ubiquitous coverage with a high data rate over 100 times faster than 5G. It is also to provide internet connection with vastly improved reliability and privacy protection.
‘The antenna research team at Kent have developed broadband high-gain sub-THz antennas which is one of key technologies in 6G and will pave the way for the development of future 6G wireless communications systems.
‘Often peoples’ most frustrating issue during the coronavirus lockdown period is the slow internet connections. 6G will completely solve this problem. Kent has a world-class research team in antenna technology. We have made good progress in sub-THz antennas and intelligent antennas in the WISDOM project, and this work will be vital for 6G.’
Kent’s antenna research team also includes Dr Benito Sanz, Dr. Qi Luo, Professor John Batchelor, Dr. Paul Young and other staff and students from EDA. Professor Gao and Dr. Sanz, together with their collaborators, recently published a paper in IEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology entitled ‘A D-Band 3D-Printed Antennas’. This reported their recent progress on 140-GHz antennas. The work is a result of the EPSRC funded project WISDOM; a multi-disciplinary project collaborating with Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Warwick, KU Leuven (Belgium) and TU Graz (Austria), of which Professor Gao was the coordinator and Principal Investigator. Recently the team also published a book titled “Low-cost Smart Antennas” (Qi Luo, Steven Gao, Wei Liu and Chao Gu, John Wiley & Sons, 2019) which describes the theory and principles of advanced antenna technologies for 4G, 5G and 6G.