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Novel Antenna and Semiconductor Technology

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[Berlaymont Building (The Headquarters of the European Commission), Brussels, Belgium]

- The Chip Industry Gets A Strong 5G Signal

5G will be significantly faster than 4G, delivering up to 20 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) peak data rates and 100+ Megabits-per-second (Mbps) average data rates. It can support a 100x increase in traffic capacity and network efficiency, as well as deliver more instantaneous access with a 10x decrease in network latency over 4G. In short, 5G is the best technology for the massive amount of data that will be generated by sensors in cars, IoT devices, and a growing list of next-generation electronics.

The impacts of 5G on the semiconductor industry will be widespread. End-user devices and base stations will need to manage multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) and beam-steering technologies, which translate into more channels and expanded demand for bulk acoustic wave (BAW) filters, antennae, power management, and other devices.


(MIT, Yu-Chih Ko)

- AAS Supercharging 5G Capabilities

Recent technology developments have made advanced antenna systems (AAS) a viable option for large scale deployments in existing 4G and future 5G mobile networks. AAS enables state-of-the-art beamforming and MIMO techniques that are powerful tools for improving end-user experience, capacity and coverage. As a result, AAS significantly enhances network performance in both uplink and downlink. 

Finding the most suitable AAS variants to achieve performance gains and cost efficiency in a specific network deployment requires an understanding of the characteristics of both AAS and of multi-antenna features. Specifically, we focus on how: 


  • Improvements in beamforming and beam management (beam switching, recovery and refinement) techniques increase coverage and capacity across more control and broadcast channels compared to LTE, with radio of up to 64 or more transceiver and antenna elements. 
  • Massive MIMO adds even more capacity without adding more antenna elements, due to increasing degrees of freedom an antenna array has available to modify a transmitted signal – even for multiple users and antennas. 
  • Advances in using millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum bands improves with fully integrated radio arrays that can include more than 100 transceiver and antenna elements. 
  • Use of spectrum below 6 GHz and in the mmWave range allow for significant improved coverage and capacity not possible through previous radio techniques. 
  • Different deployment scenarios can be based on network locations, services and use cases.


- AAS Deployment Scenarios

The new antenna technologies will work with both standalone and non-standalone versions of 5G New Radio (NR).  However, the emerging complexity of the 5G NRs require mobile network operators (MNOs) and equipment manufacturers to manage a toolbox of passive and active radio solutions in spectrum bands below 6 GHz. In deploying AAS, MNOs will need to consider several factors, including performance versus cost, Electro-Magnetic Field (EMF) considerations and deployment constraints. 

In dense urban high-rise scenarios with tall buildings and high subscriber density, an AAS with beamforming capabilities in both vertical and horizontal directions is the most beneficial option. In suburban/rural scenarios, where vertical beamforming is usually not needed, the performance of a more cost efficient AAS with fewer radio chains is often sufficient. High AAS performance can be achieved without the need for many MIMO layers.  

A small number of AAS variants provide significant benefits across a very wide range of deployment scenarios, making it possible for MNOs to enjoy the benefits of cost-efficient AAS across their networks. As a result, the importance of AAS is likely to increase rapidly in future radio network deployments.



[More to come ...]


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