Ericsson, PowerLight Demonstrate Fully Wireless 5G Base Station

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SEATTLE, Oct. 4, 2021 — Multinational telecommunications firm Ericsson and Seattle-based PowerLight Technologies reported the successful demonstration of a fully wireless-powered 5G base station. The proof-of-concept used PowerLight’s optical beaming capabilities to convert electricity into high-intensity light that is then captured and converted to electricity at the radio base station.

The companies called the demonstration a milestone toward the goal of successful transmission of kilowatts of energy over longer distances. In showing how power can be distributed wirelessly to create network deployment and use case opportunities, the collaborators said the wireless power proof-of-concept has the potential to support rapid street radio rollouts; provisional deployments in cases of emergency or time-specific densification demands; power-cable-free machines, such as automated guided vehicles and drones; and devices such as IoT sensors and lamps.

The two companies are collaborating to explore and develop 5G solutions aimed at enhancing the speed and flexibility of network deployment in diverse environments.

In the demonstration, wireless power was safely distributed to an Ericsson 5G millimeter-wave radio base station, using PowerLight’s laser technology to transmit hundreds of watts over hundreds of meters through the air. The laser beam was guarded by virtual shield, or safety ring, that automatically and temporarily shut down power transmission before any living or inanimate object crossed its path. When the safety ring was activated, the site’s back-up battery activated until the beam was cleared.

No wires were connected to the site from the street power grid network, and the proof-of-concept avoided the need for on-site power generation.

“Most people are aware that wireless charging technology is available today for small electronic devices, such as cellphones and watches,” said Claes Olsson, executive chairman of PowerLight Technologies. He said that the demonstration moves the collaborators toward the ability to commercialize safe, wireless power transmission of larger-scale systems. Those systems, he said, will be commercially available in the next few years.

Published: October 2021
optical power beaminglaser communicationscommunicationdatacomWireless communicationstelecomEricssonPowerLight TechnologiesBusinessradioIOT5G5G devices

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