BT trials quantum antennas to boost 5G and IoT efficiency
BT has launched a new trial of quantum antenna technology that the British telco hopes will help boost the performance of its 5G and internet of things networks.
Atomic Radio Frequency (RF) receiver technology offers a new way of detecting radio waves, offering the ability to detect weak signals that would remain undetected by conventional receivers.
The receiver works by using a quantum effect called “electromagnetically induced transparency” to form a sensitive electric field detector.
BT hopes the trial will help reduce mobile energy consumption, which would allow more IoT devices to become cost efficient and longer lasting – a key concern for enterprise and smart city deployment.
The trial represents the first time a digitally encoded message has been received on a 3.6GHz (5G) carrier frequency, according to BT. The telco is leveraging subsidiary EE’s main commercial 5G frequencies – previously these frequencies have only been used for audio.
Howard Watson, CTO of BT said: “BT’s investment in cutting edge R&D plays a central role in ensuring the UK remains a network technology leader.
“Our programme has huge potential to boost the performance of our next generation EE network and deliver an even better service to our customers. Although it’s early days for the technology, we’re proud to be playing an instrumental role in developing cutting edge science.”
BT is now conducting research at its lab in Martlesham, UK, as part of efforts to miniaturise the equipment so that it can fit onto the masts (in test cases the antenna tends to a lot bigger). The telco has also secured several patents related to the implementation of the atomic RF receiver.
Just last month, BT teamed with Toshiba and EY to trial the world’s first commercial quantum secured metro network, connecting numerous EY sites across London, highlighting how vital quantum networking is to the company’s future.
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