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21 Nov 2018

Innovation Award for EAST Project

The recently completed EAST project in which Besi participated, has won the 2018 Innovation Award. The award was presented at European Forum for Electronic and Components and Systems (EFECS) in Lisbon, Portugal, 21 November 2018.

EAST (smart Everything everywhere Access to content through Small cells Technologies) is an RD&I project consortium involving 8 European partners from the Netherlands and Ireland. The project partners are NXP-NL (project leader), Besi, Bruco, Anteverta-mw, Nokia, TU-Delft, TU-Eindhoven and TNO. EAST supports the rollout of 5G mobile networks by developing highly integrated, energy-efficient and cost-efective small cell technologies.

Access to mobile data has become fundamental to people’s everyday lives and economic activity. But existing 2G/3G/4G networks are power-hungry and have limits on their data-handling capacity. Available spectrum (the radio frequencies allocated by governments to mobile communications) is also becoming a scarce resource. 5G aims to overcome these limitations so people have high-speed access to all the data they want, wherever they are. This includes video, machine to machine (M2M) communication and new services that enable greater collaboration, communication and surveillance – for instance, for public security. Although now in its early stages, it is expected that, by 2025, over 30% of European mobile connections will be based on 5G technology.

Small cell technology

One way to deliver 5G is to create smaller mobile network 'cells'  (geographical areas in the network incorporating base stations) that can re-use frequencies and enable higher overall capacity on the network. However, this means increasing the number of base stations and leads to high power consumption. EAST is tackling these challenges through ‘small cell’ technologies for infrastructure (base stations) and terminals (handsets) for 5G networks up to 6 GHz. These smaller cells with multiple transmitters are key to using multiple frequencies to enable transmission of very large amounts of data (e.g. video) at low cost and low power. The project goals included: enhanced data rates, greater integration, higher functionality, dramatic cost reduction, higher overall system efficiency and reconfigurability. 

Low power solution

Europe has a strong position in existing wireless infrastructure. By supporting the technical and commercial success of 5G small cell technology, EAST will contribute to strengthening Europe’s competitiveness in this next generation of mobile communication. The project focuses on the low range of frequencies (< 6 Ghz) proposed for 5G because this is expected to be highest value market segment. It is also where there is greatest need for low-power solutions to reduce the environmental impact of 5G.

Autonomous driving

Communications and data transfer are fundamental enablers of the new Digital Economy. Enabling low cost 5G solutions will transform many industrial and societal activities. New digital manufacturing techniques, essential for European competitiveness, rely on large amounts of data transfer. Equally, assisted and autonomous driving, along with home-based health monitoring and treatment are only two examples of important societal development that can require 5G technology.

The EAST project consortium covers almost the entire value chain from technology developers and providers to system integrators and end-equipment manufacturers, with expertise across the total radio frequency (RF) system. By having all the necessary competences available in a single consortium, the key elements can be optimized at system level which helps speed radical innovation.

Find the full article on: aeneas-office.org

By Sebastiaan Kersjes, the Netherlands
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