Millimetre wave technology could be the key to unlocking 5G ubiquity.
The new antennas will operate within the millimetre wave spectrum of radio frequencies. Qualcomm and Vivo have designed an antenna array that utilises millimetre wave technology which has already been integrated into Vivo’s commercial form factor.
Millimetre wave or extremely high frequency encapsulates frequency ranges from 30 to 300 GHz.
Most device use radio frequencies up to 30 GHz. This has resulted in a congested frequency range, which has led to a loss of efficiency in carrying data across the used spectrums.
Data rates are restricted to less than 1 Gigabit per second on the microwave wavelengths. However operating within the millimetre spectrum data rates can reach 10 Gigabits per second or even higher.
A major challenge to millimetre wave technology has been its poor performance at travelling distance. It requires a direct line of sight from antenna to device, as trees and buildings can block the signal. Atmospheric absorption is another concern as well, as the signal can be scattered by falling rain.
Yet within ten metres of a device it can achieve incredibly fast data speeds and could be a key component in edge computing device in the future.
The demand for new semiconductors that can operate at high frequencies, constructed with gallium nitride, silicon germanium and gallium arsenide, has seen space for millimetre wave circuit’s inclusion in devices as demonstrated by Infineon.
Commenting in a released statement Dr. Huan-Chu Huang of Vivo said that: “From the early days of WiGig to 5G mm-Wave today, Vivo has been focused on deep studies and solid works on mm-Wave antenna designs and technologies.”
“This successful development of 5G mm-Wave antenna array technology for smart phones denotes a further progression of Vivo’s accumulation of industry-leading technology breakthroughs and capabilities.”
In May of 2017 Apple Inc sought an application for a license to experiment with millimetre wave technology and it would seem to indicate that this is the technology that could deliver 5G speeds on devices.