January 12, 2019

Understanding Millimeter Wave Frequencies for 5G Networks

What Are Millimeter Wave Frequencies for 5G Networks?

Millimeter wave frequencies for 5G networks, also referred to as extremely high frequency (EHF), are a band of radio frequencies that allows transmission on frequencies between 30 GHz and 300 GHz. Compared to 5 GHz frequencies previously used by mobile devices, these frequencies, called millimeter waves (mmwaves) due to wavelengths that fall between 1 mm and 10 mm, are well suited for 5G networks.

But, why are millimeter wave frequencies so crucial to 5G networks? Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and challenges organizations must be prepared for as 5G rolls out this year.

Why Are Millimeter Wave Frequencies Crucial to 5G Networks?

5G is already here. From massive scale communication and tactile internet to public safety, e-health and other advanced applications, 5G will be necessary to support demands and business requirements.

Until recently, only satellites and radar systems have used millimeter wave frequencies; largely untouched by the public. Now, these ultra-low latency frequencies have been opened up by regulators for licensing. Some mobile network providers have started using them, for example, to transmit data between base stations.

Other key benefits of using millimeter wave frequencies for 5G networks include:

  • Focused signal makes it an optimal choice for small cell architecture and in cases where signals are focused on covering a specific area.
  • Ultra-wide channel bandwidth results in better transmission latency to support immersive applications.
  • Ultra-wide bandwidth allows for spectrum slicing to achieve specific network traffic in enterprise applications.

Challenges of Millimeter Wave Frequencies for 5G Networks

As you can see, millimeter wave frequencies for 5G networks hold great potential. But, because millimeter waves have high frequencies and short wavelengths, potential challenges must be considered. From reflections and diffractions to atmospheric absorption and high path losses, millimeter wave frequencies pose new challenges for 5G network designs.

The solution?

Recently, Marco Giordani, from the University of Padova, Italy discussed these very challenges and solutions in his webinar, Challenges and Solutions of Millimeter Waves for 5G.  He states that although existing measurements provide some insights into the propagation of the mmWaves in 5G environments, there remain many open problems which call for innovative channel modeling and design solutions.

These proposed innovative solutions include ideas such as:

  • Hybrid precoding to provide more freedom in designing precoding matrices (i.e., precoding multiple data streams at the same time) than pure-analog solutions.
  • Channel sparsity to exploit the poor scattering nature of the mmWave channel.
  • Multi-Connectivity that integrates multiple wireless technologies (e.g., LTE and mmWaves) and benefits from the strengths of each single radio.
  • Digital beamforming by using a separate RF chain for each antenna element, potentially enabling the transceiver to direct beams in infinite directions.
  • Disseminate context information, e.g., UE position obtained from GPS measurements, to geometrically select the optimal beam to interconnect the endpoints and alleviate the burden of the beam alignment operations.
  • Deploy a fraction of BSs with traditional fiber-like backhaul capabilities and the rest of the BSs connecting to the fiber infrastructures wirelessly.
  • And more.

KMB Telecom Engineering Firm

As a leading telecom engineering firm, KMB Design Group provides comprehensive turnkey telecommunications services to help businesses prepare for the launch of 5G. We will help your business stay ahead of demands and overcome challenges with millimeter wave frequencies for 5G networks. No matter how large or complex your project may be, our team has the telecommunications engineering experience required to ensure a cost-effective design that meets all your deployment goals.

Read: “5G Network Release Date Could Happen A Lot Quicker Than Expected. Are You Ready?

Read: “Ready For 5G? Engineering Design Element Considerations

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