5G Network Enablement: The Role of Millimeter Wave Spectrum

October 9, 2018

Is Millimeter Wave Technology the Key to Making 5G a Reality?

By 2025, over 75 billion devices will be remotely connected to the web and to each other. The coming age will pair Internet of Things (IoT) solutions with 5G speeds ranging from 100 Mbps to a staggering 10 Gbps.

With so many paired devices eating away at bandwidth frequencies, the demand for a wireless communications network infrastructure that connects these devices grows. One serious solution being considered for freeing up the airwaves is with millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum bands between 30 GHz and 300 GHz. These bands will be useful in transferring wireless data across short-range transmissions.

Emerging technologies are being researched to test the viability of mmWave’s untapped bands in transmitting for 5G applications. In fact, the fast lane is already clear for take-off according to the Federal Communications Commission.

In an effort to bring faster, safer service to consumers, businesses, and other institutions utilizing high-speed wireless frequencies, the FCC recently introduced new guidelines for wireless broadband in frequencies above 24 GHz.

The potential value of mmWave for 5G

The wide adoption of 5G technology will revolutionize the speed at which data is transferred, and how much can be transferred at one time. In the world of IoT, this translates into instant, reliable machine communication across every industry and application possible.

Virtually every part of our world will be equipped with the means to transfer information remotely, providing a huge boost in our ability to understand and optimize IoT systems.

Assistant Professor Xinyu Zhang with the University of Wisconsin-Madison outlined the case for utilizing mmWave for 5G at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit in 2015. With IoT and mobile apps, we are already aware of the usefulness of wireless communication between users and technology. The gaming generation has been using wireless remote controls for years, more businesses are adopting mobile temperature control technology, and the number of multimedia adapters and smart TVs grows exponentially every quarter.

According to Professor Zhang, retail (think kiosk-to-mobile communications), manufacturing, wearable fitness tracking, drones, holograms, autonomous driving, virtual reality, gaming, flight media transmission, subways, stadiums, smart cities and transportation, agriculture and other industries/applications of short-range wireless transfer could potentially see improvements in speed, performance, and mainstream use when paired with mmWave 5G technologies.

How Will mmWave Integrate with Current Technology?

Previously, high-frequency bandwidth signals were not seen as a viable solution for wireless transmission because they were often vulnerable to interference from rain, gas, humidity, occluding objects, and distance. In his report, Professor Zhang outlined the importance of pairing technology with multi-element dynamic antennas to overcome those obstacles facing mmWave bands.

Highly directional antennas break through the propagation loss via flexible beams, though there are still kinks in mobility and blockage to work through. Gigabit LTE modules like Telit’s LM960 Cat 18 data card are incredibly agile, feature ultra-small form factor, and use 4 x 4 multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) antennas to improve spectral efficiency. Other Massive-MIMO technologies will become more relevant when using higher frequencies.

Furthermore, 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) technologies like narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and Long-Term Evolution machine-type communications (LTE-M) will be integral to meeting the needs of 5G communications.

Recently, 3GPP and the International Telecommunication Union have partnered to plan out several research phases detailing 5G standards going into 2020. While the exact frequencies available for use are still being debated, it seems like the infrastructure is gaining momentum for better and faster short-range communications.

Telit Leads the Path to 5G and Short-Wave Broadband Solutions

Setting the trend with the world’s first marketed Gigabit LTE module in 2018, Telit continues to market innovations for a 5G future.

As a worldwide leader and developer of mobile broadband solutions and technology, Telit transforms businesses by connecting them to the highest available speeds that cellular networks can support. From smart city planning to retail to security and surveillance, Telit has a two-decade history of connecting industries to smarter solutions.

Connect with a Telit representative and learn about our LTE-M and NB-IoT modules or discover how the high-speed LM960 Gigabit Class LTE Cat 18 data card can prepare your business for a 5G future today.

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