Understanding 5G mmWave
5G technology is more than just the radio waves we hear so much about. 5G includes upgrades, improvements and completely new principles for the entire network, from the very inner workings of the mobile network, how things are transmitted through those systems, over the air, how they are received and even the very concept of what a mobile device and mobile operator actually is.
However, the one thing that has captured most people's attention the new set of radio frequencies being used, millimetre waves, also known as mmwave, mmW, or 'microwave'.
5G mmW technology provides significant upgrades to speed, capacity and efficiency, which will be noticed by consumers, business and the mobile operators, but it is incredibly complex.
Related: 5G Use Cases and Health
5G mmW Complexity in a Quick Analogy
Imagine you're standing in a field with a friend. You have a bag of tennis balls, on each of these balls you can write a short message. To communicate with your friend you throw those tennis balls back and forth, one at a time. You can even bounce them off a wall, to reach your friend if they are standing around a corner
Now imagine the 5G mmW version of this where the tennis balls are now grains of rice. You can still cram in your short message on each grain (well...), but now in one throw you can throw a lot more grains. This means you can send a lot more data, and because each grain is smaller and lighter it takes less effort to throw.
But hang on, we don't live in a vacuum, so those grains of rice actually get blown about in the air, so some get lost, some need more umph to get them to the recipient. Also, unlike the tennis balls, the grains won't bounce off the wall or floor, they just stop in their tracks.
Let's now imagine you've got a handy, big funnel attached to a tube (bear with me on this), point the funnel and tube towards your friend, hurl the rice into the funnel and watch it be directed through the tube straight to your friend. If your friend moves, pivot the funnel and tube, and carry on.
5G Beam forming and steering
Despite the over simplifications, that analogy highlights just some of the challenges and opportunities of 5G. The funnel and tube illustrates one of the fascinating concepts of beam forming and steering.
Many other technical challenges exist with 5G millimetre waves, ranging from atmospheric and physical structures, all the way down to the type of material used in the phone, antenna and processors.
Movandi recently closed a $27 million round of funding, helping them on their mission to expedite 5G rollouts.
Movandi's technology promises to extend coverage and reduce deployment costs for operators, through a silicon + software + system approach to the 5G RF (radio-frequency) front end.
The company provides 5G integrated circuits, antennas, systems, and algorithms design disciplines, along with mesh and routing techniques to further improve 5G coverage and capacity.
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