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A*STAR in collaboration for enhancing 5G, drone and satellite communication tech

Image credit: a-star.edu.sg/ A*STAR

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and arQana Technologies have made a Master Research Collaboration Agreement.

This agreement will see both organisations jointly creating capabilities in mmWave Phased Array System for the 5G cellular infrastructure, drone detection radar, and satellite communication on the move (STOM).

Based in Singapore, arQana is a fabless supplier of millimetre-wave IC (MMIC) components. It will employ A*STAR’s research capacity and tools for creating solutions.

These solutions include greater cost-effectiveness, smaller form factor and higher power efficiency.

They will be created under four packages- Antenna Array and Calibration, Circuit Design, Antenna in Package and Test Methodology.

The solutions can be implemented in 5G cellular infrastructure, drone detection radar and Ka/Ku band SOTM.

An investment of S$10M will be made for supporting this three-year partnership.

arQana aims to combine the MMIC and antenna within the package while still maintaining a high-performing system and cost-efficiency.

This can be done by using the Fan-Out Wafer Level Packaging (FOWLP) technology from the Institute of Microelectronics (IME) and in-situ built-in fast antenna array self-calibration technique from the Institute for Infocomm Research (I²R).

These solutions will make 5G and satcom systems more power-efficient. Higher power efficiency signifies a greener technology.

Professor Dim-Lee Kwong, Executive Director of IME, said, “5G technologies form the backbone of Singapore’s digital economy. A*STAR is keen to help local SMEs like arQana leverage key technologies to boost their competitive advantage and contribute to building Singapore’s 5G tech ecosystem.”

Singapore has been actively investing and finding ways to increase its prevalence in the raise towards 5G networks. OpenGov previously reported on the latest state of the technology in Singapore and of the challenges it is facing.

There have been research collaboration efforts between agencies such as the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and telco M1 are collaborating on research efforts towards creating advanced robots that use 5G technology.

Free trials were also conducted by The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) Singapore to promote greater technological innovation and forward the development of 5th generation mobile networks.

Some of the challenges in 5G technology implementation are:

  1. Short 5G highways

Though the 5G network is wide and being able to hold multiple data, it is too short.

With an increase in bandwidth, the network also faces less coverage.

  1. Cost

With the need to increase the number of base stations, there is an increased cost faced in having to support the technology.

Base stations might become more expensive as well, at 20 to 30 per cent more.

  1. Latency

While 5G strives to achieve lower latency, there is still a lot of work to be done. Autonomous cars are expected to extensively use 5G technology.

The ideal latency level for autonomous cars to perform optimally is 1 to 2 milliseconds. However, they are currently only at less than 30 milliseconds.

  1. Consumers

With 5G technology requiring more investments into furnishing it, it will relay into the market prices, where customers will have to bear big weights.

The consumer mindset is to enjoy maximum benefits at the lowest costs.

Unless the technology can provide more benefits to customers or reduce costs in other aspects of it, consumers may not be willing to make the switch.

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