The Role of Millimeter-Wave Technologies in 5G/6G Wireless Communications

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  • Author: Wei Hong; Zhi Hao Jiang; Chao Yu; Debin Hou; Haiming Wang; Chong Guo; Yun Hu; Le Kuai; Yingrui Yu

Ever since the deployment of the first-generation of mobile telecommunications, wireless communication technology has evolved at a dramatically fast pace over the past four decades. The upcoming fifth-generation (5G) holds a great promise in providing an ultra-fast data rate, a very low latency, and a significantly improved spectral efficiency by exploiting the millimeter-wave spectrum for the first time in mobile communication infrastructures. In the years beyond 2030, newly emerged data-hungry applications and the greatly expanded wireless network will call for the sixth-generation (6G) communication that represents a significant upgrade from the 5G network - covering almost the entire surface of the earth and the near outer space.

In both the 5G and future 6G networks, millimeter-wave technologies will play an important role in accomplishing the envisioned network performance and communication tasks. In this paper, the relevant millimeter-wave enabling technologies are reviewed: they include the recent developments on the system architectures of active beamforming arrays, beamforming integrated circuits, antennas for base stations and user terminals, system measurement and calibration, and channel characterization. The requirements of each part for future 6G communications are also briefly discussed.

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