Beam-forming antennas are an essential tool for mobile operators as they build out their networks for capacity and 5G NR . For radio planners tasked with developing 5G and capacity build-out strategies, it is critical to have a full understanding of beam-forming antenna capabilities, including the variations and appropriate use cases for each type . Without this understanding, planners’ risk over- or under-engineering parts of their networks, resulting in unnecessary costs, insufficient performance, or both.
This paper introduces the principles of beam forming, including passive and active beam forming, different configurations and their underlying technologies. A follow-up paper, “Beamformers Explained II,” will focus on various actual applications that provide planners a methodology for selecting the right antenna for each situation.