How does 5G connectivity impact embedded antennas?
One of the most prominent integration challenges of embedded antennas derives from the specific frequency band they operate on. These are the allocated frequencies the antenna communicates with, depending on the wireless technology it uses. 5G chip antennas operate on a wide range of frequency bands, usually separated into low-band (below 1GHz), mid-band (1-6 GHz) and millimetre wave (>10 GHz) spectrums.
At higher 5G cellular frequencies, devices have exceptional data speeds and bandwidth (as high as 400 Mbps), but sacrifice connectivity range as a result. Millimetre wave (mmWave) bands exhibit 10x to 20x smaller latency rates than its predecessor of 4G LTE, but at a range of only 100 metres with an inability to penetrate walls or windows. Nevertheless, the testing and certification process of 5G devices requires them to operate across all target frequency bands rather than just one.
The requirement to operate on a broadband frequency spectrum makes the integration of embedded 5G antennas an intricate process for small devices. Wave frequency is inversely proportional to its wavelength, meaning that lower frequency bands require larger ground planes to function. As 5G must be able to operate on low frequency bands as well as high, antennas themselves must occupy either more space on the board or use a larger antenna. Because of this, finding the right 5G antenna solution is a vital step in small wireless device design; without thorough research could result in a failure to achieve certification through inefficient TRP.