EMPIR project publishes good practice guide to aid uptake of standards related to waveguides

Against a dark background multiple bright blue stands of light interweave around the symbols “5G”
Artist conception of dataflow in 5G networks

From 2012 to 2016 the IEEE published standards for high-frequency waveguides. EMPIR NeWITT project supports their uptake

Many present and emerging technologies, such as autonomous vehicles, smart cities, radio astronomy, and climate change monitoring, are using electromagnetic system frequencies of 100 GHz and above. In telecommunications 5G networks are reaching frequencies of up to 90 GHz and subsequent generations will reach even higher limits.
It is important that these systems adhere to international standards – not only to guarantee compatibility in networks – but also to ensure where electromagnetic signal level restrictions must be met, such as where a signal must be below a certain level so as not to interfere with other signals or not endanger human health.

A key output of the EMRP project Metrology for new electrical measurement quantities in high-frequency circuits (SIB62, HFCircuits) was significant input into the IEEE 1785 series of standards detailing the specifications, dimensions and interfaces for rectangular waveguides operating at electromagnetic frequencies of 110 GHz or above. Waveguides are important in almost all electric or optical systems as they literally ‘guide’ the signal towards the correct channel. A commonly used waveguide for light are optical fibres, for example.
In addition the project also contributed to the update (V3) of the EURAMET Calibration Guide 12 on the Evaluation of Vector Network Analysers (VNA).

 These standards addressed all issues relating to higher level frequencies but to date many end-users are either not aware of them or found some parts, such as the waveguide interface designs that are recommended in the documents, more complex than in the past – which discouraged some from adapting their existing systems.

In response the EMPIR project New Waveguide Interfaces for Terahertz Technologies (17SIP08, NeWITT) was initiated to help address these problems.

Along with new waveguide designs that may be used in future revisions of the IEEE standards the project published a good practice guide on making rectangular waveguide connections at frequencies above 100 GHZ to aid adoption of these standards. To support the new guide the project published a dataset containing the results from test measurements used for the guide.

The project also produced freely available software written in MATLAB to calculate the electrical performance of connected waveguides, as described in the IEEE 1785 series of standards, based on mechanical dimensions and tolerance data. As of December 2023, the guide has been downloaded over 3000 times – indicating the importance of the IEEC 1785 standards in this area.

The good practice guide and software from this project will facilitate the adoption of the IEEE 1785 series of standards, leading to manufacturers adapting their products faster and more efficiently, and limit incompatibility problems. In the long term this will improve compatibility of high frequency networks and allow Europe to be competitive in this growing area.

This EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.

The EMRP joint research project was part of EURAMET’s European Metrology Research Programme. The EMRP was jointly funded by the EMRP participating countries within EURAMET and the European Union.

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