EU develops new silicon photonic chips to meet the 5G era

The fifth-generation mobile communication technology (5G) is expected to be commercialized by 2020, meeting the growing demand for wireless communication and data exchange through high-speed, secure connectivity. In order to ensure that EU countries are at the forefront of 5G technology and help EU companies get the most benefit from the application of 5G networks, the EU is vigorously strengthening R&D of 5G technology, including funding IRIS projects (investment of 3.35 million euros, ending at the end of 2016) to develop a new type of Silicon photonic chips provide more network bandwidth and reduce operating expenses in the era of big data.

This new silicon photonic chip uses silicon as a micro-optical medium to transfer and exchange data at very high speeds. New chips use photons instead of electronics to simultaneously send and receive large amounts of data, dramatically increasing efficiency, reducing power consumption, and reducing business operating expenses. Currently, the first batch of chips are undergoing testing and characterization, which has been shown to improve network performance. The project was led by Ericsson Pisa, Italy, and its researchers have submitted all relevant patent applications for the technology. The project's industrial partners believe that developing new features of the chip to accommodate products in the 5G mobile network era is of strategic importance. The data center will become a key end user of the chip, providing computer information processing and storage services more efficiently for enterprises. Some people predict that more B2B (inter-enterprise) services will emerge in the 5G era, and the IRIS project just meets this need.

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