AT&T and NYU Awarded FCC Licenses for 6G and Terahertz Research

February 15, 2023

Written by Caio Castro
FCC council starts discussions on 6G
CATEGORY: Exclusives

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted two more experimental licenses in 2022 to research 6G and terahertz frequencies for telecommunications.

In June, the FCC approved AT&T’s request to “demonstrate the functionality and capabilities of fifth-generation advanced (‘5G advanced’) and potential 6G wireless communication systems” in three bands:

  • 5.925GHz-8.4GHz
  • 10.7GHz-1.535GHz
  • 92GHz-100GHz

At&T investigations will involve communications between fixed base stations placed both indoors and outdoors at AT&T Labs in Austin, Texas, and mobile units. According to the license submission, the wireless link will be located between the base station and the mobile user equipment at distances up to 5km (3.1 miles).

The base station and user equipment will be operated at 10-30 meters (32-98ft) and 1 meter (3.2 ft), respectively, above ground level.

Even though the company has not detailed how the technology will work or what exactly will be tested, the document hints at antennas and MIMO, coding and modulation schemes, and multi-Gbps on downlink and uplink.

“The experiments using this license will provide valuable information to optimise next-generation cloud-native architectures and technologies, support trustworthy, secure, and scalable application, new use cases, e.g., sensing, and multi-Gbps throughput for cellular users,” AT&T explained.

The license is valid through June 1st, 2024.

New York

The FCC also granted NYU Wireless a license last July. According to the filing, researchers want to investigate mmWave propagation, 5G channel models, and the development of 5G wireless communication.

They will measure the propagation characteristics of 140-148 GHz mmWave signal with 4 GHz RF bandwidth. The group will use a channel sounder developed by NYU Wireless to transmit at a power level of 10 dBm with 30 dB horn antennas.

The measurements will take place in nine locations, including around the NYU campus (indoors and outdoors), rural Virginia (mobile), and a few indoor factory locations in New York City. “We plan to select several locations where the TX and RX are LOS, NLOS and in different environments (near the corner, walls or streets),” the researchers said in the document.

The license is valid through August 1st, 2026.

Pending Approval

The first grant of 2023 for 6G research may go to Oklahoma State University. The researchers want to use a “center frequency in the range of 127-133 GHz and various forms of PSK modulation signals with bandwidths up to 20 GHz to test modulation efficiency and propagation issues.”

According to the filing, this is a “true experiment” and does not involve 24/7 operations. The FCC is currently analysing the request.

Latest of Many

These are not the first 6G or Terahertz the FCC has issued. The Commission granted Keysight the first Spectrum Horizons license in January 2022, a special program designed to experiment with high frequencies, including the terahertz band. In the same month, the FCC granted Qualcomm a regular experimental license for terahertz communications. In 2021, it was Samsung who filed and had a permit approved.

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