The spotlight has been on millimeter waves (mmWaves) ever since the major telecom carriers decided this was the band that would be the focus on building out the new 5G wireless network.
The millimeter wave spectrum lies between 30 GHz and 300 GHz wedged between microwave and infrared waves.
The primary reason for selecting the extremely high frequency band for 5G is because all the lower bands had become far too congested, which impact transmission speeds and latency during the 4G era.
Not only that, but the amount of bandwidth available at mmWave frequencies is enormous compared to the amount of frequency spectrum used by 4G and previous wireless network technologies. Consequently, the hundreds of megahertz of wireless transmission bandwidth available at center frequencies allows 5G wireless networks to operate with almost zero latency and extremely high data speeds.
With the assistance of the FCC, the major telecom carriers received licenses to operate in the millimeter wave spectrum. However, there were reasons why this band of radio frequencies had received such little use previously.
Electromagnetic (EM) energy at those higher frequencies suffers a great deal of path loss through the air (especially through air with high humidity) compared to lower-frequency signals with longer wavelengths. Also there are penetration issues with wwWaves because signals at 24 GHz and above can be absorbed by any objects in their propagating path, such as buildings, trees, even the hand of someone holding the smartphone that’s sending the mmWave signals to a cell site to connect with a listener.
The carriers are trying to get around these issues as they rollout their 5G infrastructures across the U.S.
Millimeter waves can be strengthened though the use of small antennas packed together into antenna arrays – a technology used by the U.S. military.
Two processes called beamforming and beamtracking are also being deployed to make sure the signal gets from base stations to mobile devices. In the simplest scenario for beamforming, where the biggest challenge is that the receiver isn’t facing the transmitter, the solution is as simple as bouncing the beam off a surface at a precise angle. The receiving device uses beamtracking to determine which signal is the strongest and picks it up.
Want to learn more about mmWaves? Tonex offers mmW Technology Training | Millimeter Wave Training, a 3-day course that covers the fundamentals of millimeter wave technologies including 28 GHz and ISM 60 GHz (802.11ad, and 802.11ay) and applications for anyone who needs to be grounded in the fundamentals of millimeter wave technologies.
Additionally, Tonex offers 20 more cutting edge 5G Wireless courses with titles like:
For more information, questions, comments, contact us.