5G wireless technology is not scheduled to be available until 2020 but speculations about its frequency and filters are running rampant. Some of the most popular include:
Use of 5G RAN
The radio access network (RAN) for this next generation wireless technology is expected to be a combination of frequencies, nodes, and technologies which promise a boost in speed and reduction in latency. The downside is that it presents larger challenges for deployment.
Most consider that a frequency higher than what 4G offers will probably far outweigh its deployment difficulty.
Use of High-Frequency Spectrum
Many experts believe that 5G wireless technology will have a frequency spectrum of greater than 6 GHz particularly since almost all available spectrum below 6 GHz have already been allocated forcing carriers to move to a higher frequency spectrum in order to secure bandwidth.
The 4G networks’ spectrum is defined between 700 MHz to 3 GHz, by definition then 5G has to be higher. Companies are actively involved in doing research at different frequencies, such as 15 GHz, 28 GHz, and 70 GHz.
In the Final Report to The Office of Communications, (Ofcom, a UK government-approved regulatory and competition authority for the broadcasting, telecommunications and postal industries of the United Kingdom) the Quotient Associates presented the 5G Candidate Band Study that looked into the frequency range considerations for 5G wireless technology. The study considered 6-30 GHz, 30-100 GHz, and above 100GHz as frequency ranges for the study.
The numbers were chosen as they represent a segregation of spectrum that is useful for the research.
This frequency is chosen because it is closest to existing cellular frequencies used in today’s technology and architecture. It means little additional development for existing cellular technologies will be required to employ the next generation wireless technology.
Through the use of silicon technology, this whole range of frequencies will be accessible in the next 5 years. The 30-100 GHz range contains a 60 GHz oxygen absorption peak. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED (WiGig) expands the Wi-Fi experience for virtual reality, multimedia streaming, gaming, wireless docking, and enterprise applications requiring high speed, data-intensive connections. WiGig® allows Wi-Fi devices to access the uncongested 60 GHz frequency band with wide channels to transmit data efficiently at multi-gigabit per second speeds. WiGig systems were developed using low-cost silicon system-on-a-chip (SoC) integration.
In some countries, this band contains a number of oxygen and water absorption peaks. Combined with a narrow ISM band, the first oxygen peak is reached at 120 GHz. Although there are challenges in the device and packaging technologies used in this range, it remains of interest for future development because of how it enables huge bandwidths to be achieved.
Propagation for all these ranges, however, will be line-of-sight. This means bandwidths that are available above 6 GHz will have to be short range and point to point.
Filter Requirements of 5G Technology
Unlike the power amplifier, 5G RF filtering will require a single filter for each individual frequency band. This also means varied requirements for filtering.
Multiplexing will Become Complex
Multiplexing is the transmission of multiple analog or digital signals combined into one signal over a shared medium. The aim is to share a scarce resource. For example, in telecommunications, several telephone calls may be carried using one wire. The need to multiplex will expand as carrier aggregation increases resulting in more complex designs.
Integration Will Increase
The entire RF chain will need to be optimized in order for the uplink’s Power Amplification (PA) efficiency and for the downlink’s receiver sensitivity to be maximized.
Number of Filters will Increase
Spectrum and Multiple-Input Multiple-Output proliferation will grow which, in turn, will require more filters. This calls for the cost and sizes of the filters to be decreased.
With increasing filter requirements, specifications will become more demanding as well.
Akon Inc. in San Jose, California is well positioned to supply filters, switch filter assemblies and frequency converters for the now underway 5-G network topology, while Synergy Microwave in Patterson, New Jersey supplies frequency sources and frequency synthesizers for the 5-G network as well.
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