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CEA and Spectronite Develop Software Radio For Spectrally Efficient Backhaul Solutions

Adapted for Spectronite's X-Series Modem for 5G Systems, the Technology Enables Carrier Aggregation that Provides Radio Links with 10Gb/s Capacity 

Published on 1 March 2022

GRENOBLE and SOPHIA-ANTIPOLIS, France – March 1, 2022 CEA, a French key player in research, development and innovation, and Spectronite, a leading innovator in wireless backhaul technology, today announced they have adapted and optimized CEA-Leti's spectrally efficient waveform with enhanced spectral efficiency for Spectronite's X-Series modem for 5G systems.

CEA-Leti is a technology research institute at CEA that pioneers micro- and nanotechnologies, including radiofrequency technologies. Spectronite offers a unique software-defined technology for wireless backhaul that allows for the longest and highest-capacity microwave links ever designed. X-Series, its latest product line, achieves capacity up to 10Gb/s and can reach multi-gigabit transfers over distances up to 50 kilometers.  

With this jointly developed radio technology, Spectronite's goal is to disrupt the way operators interconnect 5G base stations. In the 5G rollout, operators are required to deploy an increasing number of base stations, each of them supporting a data rate multiplied by 10 compared to 4G base stations to address user expectations in a context of mobile-data usage doubling every 18 months. Backhaul links rely on either optical fiber or wireless communication.

E-band radios in the 80GHz frequency band can provide the required capacity for 5G backhaul over short distances in wireless applications, typically up to 5 km. For longer distances, traditional radio architectures in the frequency range from 6GHz to 42GHz are limited by design in scaling. Spectronite's software radio architecture overcomes this limitation by enabling intra-band, non-contiguous carrier aggregation up to 10Gb/s in these bands.

CEA-Leti's patented optimization used in the collaboration aims at providing a significantly higher spectral efficiency compared to traditional radios, while respecting spectrum emission masks imposed by ETSI standards. The collaboration's initial results show a data-rate increase of 20 percent compared to the conventional backhaul radio waveform. The increase in spectral efficiency provides throughput equivalent to a transmission with 8192QAM modulation, while the radio operates at 2048QAM modulation. CEA-Leti and Spectronite are now working on the technology transfer with an X-Series product targeted for Q4 2022.

"Our collaboration with Spectronite strategically leverages CEA-Leti's Systems Division's deep expertise in wireless communications for an application that can keep up with the continuous spiking of global mobile data usage," said Sébastien Dauvé, CEA-Leti's CEO. "This success underscores the flexibility of our technologies to meet the challenges of innovative startups, SMEs and large industrial companies."

"While our software-defined microwave products allow mobile operators to roll-out 5G networks faster and at lower cost compared to fiber connectivity, our collaboration with CEA-Leti takes us an order of magnitude further, by reaching the highest level of spectral efficiency ever achieved in this industry," said Jean-Philippe Fournier, Spectronite CEO. "With this unprecedented level of spectral efficiency, we provide huge savings to our customers on the cost of their spectrum rental licenses."

Spectronite is hosting a booth #5G40 at the Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, Feb. 28 –March 3, 2022.

About CEA (France)

The CEA is a key player in research, development and innovation in four main areas: energy transition, digital transition, technology for the medicine of the future and defense and security.

Technological expertise

CEA has a key role in transferring scientific knowledge and innovation from research to industry. This high-level technological research is carried out in particular in electronic and integrated systems, from microscale to nanoscale. It has a wide range of industrial applications in the fields of transport, health, safety and telecommunications, contributing to the creation of high-quality and competitive products.

Leti, a technology research institute at CEA, is a global leader in miniaturization technologies enabling smart, energy-efficient and secure solutions for industry. Founded in 1967, CEA-Leti pioneers micro-& nanotechnologies, tailoring differentiating applicative solutions for global companies, SMEs and startups. CEA-Leti tackles critical challenges in healthcare, energy and digital migration. From sensors to data processing and computing solutions, CEA-Leti's multidisciplinary teams deliver solid expertise, leveraging world-class pre-industrialization facilities. With a staff of more than 1,900, a portfolio of 3,100 patents, 11,000 sq. meters of cleanroom space and a clear IP policy, the institute is based in Grenoble, France, and has offices in Silicon Valley and Tokyo. CEA-Leti has launched 65 startups and is a member of the Carnot Institutes network. Follow us on and @CEA_Leti.

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About Spectronite

Spectronite is defining a new generation of microwave transmission equipment for the backhaul of mobile networks. Its software-defined radio architecture is disrupting an industry where product capabilities are traditionally limited by their hardware architecture, while achieving unprecedented capacity. Spectronite's forward looking technology is paving the way towards a new generation of backhaul networks with dynamic channel configuration and wireless backhaul network virtualization.

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Press Contact CEA-Leti                                                                                                


Sarah-Lyle Dampoux

+33 6 74 93 23 47


Press Contact Spectronite

+33 4 93 00 11 00

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