mmWave 5G – the future of high data-rate wireless

There is no doubt that mmWave will form an important part of 5G technology, and will provide the broader bandwidths needed to enable the very high data rates being promised. Even though the final agreement of the mmWave band allocations for 5G will only be ratified at the World Radio Conference in 2019 (WRC-19), the development of mmWave 5G components and modules has been a large part of Plextek RFI’s business over the past two years.

We’ve already undertaken custom development work in some of the key bands we expect to be utilized by the first mmWave 5G products: these include the FCC licensed bands at 28GHz (27.5 – 28.35GHz), 37GHz (37 – 38.6GHz) and 39GHz (38.6 – 40GHz) and the 26GHz European pioneer band (24.25 to 27.5GHz).

This work has included custom MMIC design, the development of custom mmWave packaging solutions and Multi-Chip Modules (MCMs) as well as the design of supporting hardware to allow prototype 5G systems to be produced and evaluated.

mmWave 5G will ultimately be integrated into mobile consumer devices such as the ubiquitous smart phone, and newer applications like the Connected Car, but we expect the roll-out of commercial mmWave 5G to commence with applications such as fixed broadband wireless access (FWA). This initial roll-out will provide valuable experience to operators in developing very high data-rate cellular networks operating at mmWave frequencies. An example is the multi-gigabit per second FWA development and over-the-air field trials using 5G NR mmWave that was announced last October by a consortium made up of Verizon, Qualcomm and Novatel Wireless.[1]

The future of high data rate wireless is mmWave, the technology challenges are already being addressed, and the end performance will ultimately be breathtaking.