What is the role of millimeter waves in the success of 5G?

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  • Author: Tomasz Waliwander

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz about how 5G –the new generation communications technology – is going to improve our lives and boost economic growth which is much needed in the post covid world. 5G is to enable connectivity services with abundant availability, very high reliability and low latency. In comparison with 4G, with up to 100x higher data rates and 10x lower latency (the delay between sending and receiving information), it is expected to enable 1,000x higher data volumes and 100x more devices to be simultaneously connected to a network. 5G is touted to make our society more connected and free to stream high-definition video content or engage in AR/VR enhanced real-time online gaming experiences anywhere. This new generation communications technology is proclaimed as a key enabler of new use cases such as smart manufacturing, smart agriculture, smart energy, autonomous driving and logistics to name just a few.

While 5G is early in its lifecycle and is being continuously enhanced and refined with new 3GPP releases, it is important to address and understand what role the mm-wave spectrum will have in enabling 5G to deliver on its promises. This post will describe briefly what millimeter waves are and discuss the importance of the mm-wave spectrum in enhancing broadband services. As its characteristics are still not well understood, we will also present the benefits as well as discuss the challenges associated with transmitting radio waves at very high frequencies.

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