Active antennas are key to success of 5G networks

David Corman Chief Systems Architect
  1. Active Antenna, 5G

Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) antennas have been used in military phase-array radar systems for many years and are now being deployed in record numbers in a wide range of commercial applications. The highly anticipated roll out of 5G infrastructure is expected to utilize active antenna technologies in both base stations as well as handsets. Silicon technology is playing a major role in reducing the cost of these new active antennas as well as offering unprecedented levels of functional integration allowing the beam steering ASICS to reside within the lattice of the array resulting in low profile, planar arrays.

Silicon based active antennas will be a key to the success of 5G networks operating at millimeter-wave frequencies. Previously these frequencies were associated with prohibitively high propagation loss. But these higher propagation losses can now be overcome by generating highly directional beams with millimeter-wave silicon based active antennas. The short wavelengths involved allow a high number of radiating elements to be realized in a physically compact area. Additionally, the highly directive beams provide spatial diversity enabling frequency re-use among separate beams.

Furthermore, modern silicon technologies work well at millimeter-wave frequencies making them well positioned to address upcoming 5G needs. The FCC recently announced that they will recommend at the World Radio Conference 2015 that four new frequency bands (28 GHz, 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 64-71 GHz) be studied for upcoming 5G networks. There is no doubt that silicon ASICs will play a major role in the roll-out of these new systems.

Anokiwave's product portfolio is uniquely positioned to embrace this market with our Silicon Core ICs and System-in-Package solutions for the emerging mmW active antenna markets.