ALCAN's 5G smart antennas

A clear future for mmWave 5G


The Challenge

mmWave is key to unlocking the full potential of 5G offering increased bandwidth, faster speeds, and lower latency. However, with many of the use cases in-building and an estimated 80% of all mobile data traffic consumed indoors, operators must solve the challenges of in-building coverage.


In-building penetration is one of the biggest challenges to mmWave 5G as it is easily blocked, especially in dense urban areas. When it comes to building materials that block mmWave 5G one of the most significant barriers is low-emissivity (low-E) glass.


It is used pervasively due to the energy efficiency benefits it offers, but reduces the signal by 30 dB, meaning just 0.1% of the signal penetrates inside the building. Without addressing this issue, indoor mmWave coverage will be significantly limited.

ALCAN’s transparent 5G solution

ALCAN has an alternative, with patented Liquid Crystal (LC) based phased array antenna solutions which offer a transparent solution to indoor mmWave 5G coverage.

ALCAN’s CPE unit works with AGC’s WAVETHRU™ technology to enable significantly improved performance for mmWave 5G penetration with virtually no visual impact. Extensive testing has demonstrated a transparent antenna successfully operating at 28 GHz frequency with beam steering capabilities.

Indoor coverage

ALCAN’s liquid crystal phased array antenna uses beam steering technology to deliver mmWave 5G indoors. It thrives at higher frequencies making it ideal for 5G and 6G


ALCAN offers the only transparent mmWave solution on the market, overcoming the signal attenuation issues associated with delivering indoor mmWave 5G

Low power

Using liquid crystal, rather than the active components used in silicon-based solutions means ALCAN’s solutions have significantly lower power usage

How ALCAN’s solutions work

The technology

Based on extensive research at Darmstadt University, ALCAN’s 5G solutions use liquid crystal which is controlled by an electromagnetic field. This can change the direction of the received or transmitted beam without needing to physically turn the antenna. Liquid crystal is a naturally transparent material allowing a slimline, clear antenna that addresses one of the biggest issues plaguing mmWave 5G.


The ALCAN CPE solution works using AGC’s WAVETHRUTM technology. This treats the glass ahead of antenna application to ensure the system delivers optimum indoor mmWave 5G performance

The product

The technology will be available as a discreet FWA unit that will be added to existing windows. The solution has been tested and proven to address the challenges of in-building mmWave 5G penetration, offering beam steering capabilities with a consistent throughput of 28 Gbps. It offers a low cost, easy to install answer to the challenge to the question of delivering mmWave 5G indoors.

Future Applications


ALCAN will use its liquid crystal mmWave 5G technology to develop Reconfigurable intelligent surfaces for a stronger and future-proof wireless infrastructure by overcoming the challenges of high frequency communication


ALCAN helps operators overcome the shorter-range issues associated with mmWave by enabling discrete additional sites to be deployed across cities. This enables full 5G coverage without increasing visible infrastructure


Connected cars are a flagship vision for 5G and ALCAN’s technology integrates perfectly into vehicles and allows satellite failover, accelerating the timeline for this technology

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