Cobham Antenna Systems, Microwave Antennas has been awarded a contract to participate in a consortium on a new initiative named Beyond Next Generation (BuNGee) aimed at achieving a tenfold increase in mobile broadband infrastructure capacity. The €4.7 M initiative, which is planned to continue through June 2012, is funded largely by the European Commission and will draw upon collaboration among the consortium members comprising European service providers, technology equipment vendors, universities and research organisations.

Organised under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), the BuNGee consortiumís objective will be to increase the overall mobile network infrastructure capacity density to beyond what is promised by current technologies, targeting the challenging goal of 1 Gigabit per second per square kilometre. The project will identify network deployment strategies especially suited for dense urban environments where the demand for wireless broadband access is highest.

To achieve its stated objectives, the BuNGee project will target the following breakthroughs: unprecedented joint design of access and backhaul over licensed and license-exempt spectrum; unconventional below-rooftop backbone solutions exploiting natural radio isolations; beyond next-generation networked and distributed MIMO and interference techniques; autonomous architectures capitalising on very aggressive spatial and spectral reuse; and a protocol suite facilitating autonomous ultra-high capacity deployment.

The success of this project is critically dependent upon achieving the correct antenna beam characteristics to support high density communications networks. Cobham Antenna Systems, Microwave Antennas will be responsible for the design of appropriate individual radiating elements that will be optimized by EM simulation, the development of arrays of these structures, and the provision of a beam forming network that will control the various antenna beam shapes. Antennas will then be provided for field trials.