The use of phased array antennas in 5G systems in the Band 2 frequency is gaining traction in a number of DoD applications.
Phased array antennas in 5G systems have considerable benefits, such as improved:
- Signal strength
- Bandwidth performance
A phased array uses an antenna element arrangement so that the relative phase of each element is varied to steer a radiation pattern or beam. The antennas are connected by a system of microwave transmission lines and power dividers.
Essentially, a phased array antenna is designed to control the direction of an emitted beam by exploiting interference between two or more radiated signals, or “beamforming.”
The antenna enables beamforming by adjusting the phase difference between the driving signal sent to each emitter in the array. The number of emitters in a phased array antenna range from a handful to literally thousands.
Phased array antennas are particularly useful at producing intense radiation in a specific direction. They do this when signals from each emitter are perfectly in phase and interfere constructively.
This specific direction is controlled by setting the phase shift between the signals transmitted to different emitters. A slight time delay between signals transmitted to successive emitters controls the phase shift.
Using phase shifters enables hundreds of beams to be synthesized in phased array antennas.
Phased array antenna types include:
Linear arrays — Array elements are placed in a straight line with a single-phase shifter. In this case, beam steering is limited to a single plane and arranging several linear arrays vertically forms a flat antenna.
Planar arrays — Each antenna has a phase shifter. A matrix arrangement of individual antennas forms the planar arrangement, and the beam can be deflected in two planes. It requires a high number of phase shifters, however, increasing complexity and cost.
Frequency scanning arrays — Its antennas do not require phase shifters. Beam steering is controlled by the transmitter’s frequency.
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