The Qstream Project

Summary

The Qstream project aims at successful realization of low-cost, highly-integrated, ultra-high-data-rate streaming applications operating in the mm-wave frequency range. Complete receiver and transmitter ICs (RF and digital baseband) will be realized in CMOS technology, in addition to System-in-Package (SiP) implementations enabling mm-wave front-ends containing antenna arrays and active chips on a low-cost substrate. The validity of the chosen concepts will be demonstrated by two functional prototypes.

General goals

The realisation of low-cost integrated systems operating in the worldwide-available 60 GHz band enable a new range of ultra-high data rate wireless communication systems. Two high-volume and high-value applications, for which at the moment there are no proven technical alternatives, are wireless uncompressed high-definition video streaming and "Kiosk-downloading". Wireless High-Definition Multimedia Interface (wHDMI) offer much improved "ease-of-use" and increased "comfort" levels for video systems, leading to user-experience advancements similar to what is presently offered by WLAN systems incorporated in portable computer systems (lap-tops, note-books, PDAs, smart phones,...) "Kiosk-downloading" is a new proposition in which, for example, complete DVD movies can be conveniently transferred from a server (Kiosk) to portable devices such as iPods, smart phones and PDAs in a matter of seconds. For example, the downloading of 120 minutes of a DVD take 10 minutes with a 54 Mb/s technology while it take only 13 second with a 2 Gb/s one, and only 4s with 6 Gb/s!

Despite the amount of interest and publications in the mm-wave band around 60 GHz, no system solution complying with video-streaming and kiosk-downloading functional requirements has been demonstrated yet. Part of the difficulty for the successful realization of a total system solution lies in the multidisciplinary aspect and technical challenges of the problem at hand. These elements are depicted in Figure 1, which shows a design platform for mm-wave systems as will be investigated within the Qstream project. A truly multidisciplinary approach is needed to ensure technical and commercial success in this emerging market segment.

The aim of the Qstream project is to develop a design and implementation strategy for the realization of low-cost, highly-integrated and high-data-rate streaming applications in the 60 GHz band, involving technological, circuit-level, architectural and system-level aspects. We prove the adequacy of the concepts and technical choices by hardware demonstration. A low-cost and low-power system implementation is of fundamental importance, as the main applications address consumer market segments. The results of the project are materialize in two point-to-point indoor demonstrators at the end of the project, SYSTEM1 which feature 3 Gb/s and multiple communication beams for guaranteed quality-of-service for video streaming applications, and SYSTEM2, which demonstrate 6 Gb/s for fast file downloading in e.g. kiosk-download applications. Standardization in the millimetre-wave domain (in particular IEEE 802.15.3c, ECMA TC32-TG20 and WiMedia alliance) is actively driven by experienced partners.

Figure 1: Design and knowledge platform for mm-wave systems, depicting the major functional blocks that will be investigated within the Qstream project

Each of the functional blocks within solid lines in Figure 1 are hardware components which will be investigated and to which solutions that advance the state-of-the-art will be pursued and proposed. The elements within dashed lines represent knowledge of the mm-wave channel under usage of multiple simultaneous communication beams, and algorithmic control elements which assure correct functioning of the platform under the most stringent user case conditions. These crucial knowledge elements also worked upon within our project.