5G mmWave Antenna

ALCAN is about the reshape the urban communication by introducing its cutting edge new mmWave antennas. ALCAN will provide products for fixed as well as mobile use cases.

Why 5G, Why mm-Wave

  • The 5th generation will not only be a mobile network, but in contrary to its predecessors (4G, 3G and 2G) it aims to be an “everything network”, available “everywhere” for “everyone”, able to provide high data rates with low power consumption. One of the key hardware components of such a network on the physical layer is the antenna.
  • 5G not only offers high reliable networks but also promises high data rate services. High data rates require large bandwidth, which is available at higher frequencies, i.e., mm-wave band. Thus, recent announcement of the International Radio Union (ITU) after World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) where five additional mm-wave frequency bands (4.25-27.5 GHz, 37-43.5 GHz, 45.5-47 GHz, 47.2-48.2 and 66-71 GHz bands) are identified to facilitate diverse 5G usage scenarios.
  • In addition, recent frequency band auctions at mm-waves in USA and Japan and also European union allocating 26 GHz band for 5G,  and early 5G deployments at mm-waves in US and Asia demonstrate the increasing interests towards mm-waves for applications such as “Fixed Wireless Access (FWA)” and “5G hot spots” within the 5G cellular network.

Problem

  • Electronically Steerable Antennas (ESA) are one of key components for 5G, especially in millimeter-waves due to increased path loss and outdoor-indoor penetration loss. To reduce mm-waves path loss impact and to overcome penetration losses, narrow beam width, high-gain antennas with 2D-beam steering/beamforming and multi-beam capabilities are required.
  • Typical ESAs are phased arrays based on silicon beamforming ICs. Notwithstanding the flexibility silicon-based ESAs offer, there are two potential obstacles to their widespread deployment: 1- increased power consumption and 2- increased equipment cost. These result in high OpEx and CapEx for network operators.

ALCAN Solution

  • ALCAN’s Liquid Crystal (LC) based phased array antenna solutions can fulfil 5G performances while overcoming power and cost challenges. 
  • Main factors that differentiate Liquid Crystal based phased arrays from other antenna solutions are:
    • They are energy-efficient, as they have very low power consumption (only few watts), little heat dissipation, and thus, further cost savings.
    • They are cost-efficient electronically beam steerable antennas. Compared to traditional active phased array antennas:
      • They don’t use MMIC-based phased shifters (i.e. it is a “pure” passive solution with continuous beam steering)
      • Their beamforming architecture can be either fully analog (backhaul/fronthaul) in single-beam ESAs or hybrid analog/digital in multi-beam ESAs, depending on the application
    • They are real flat i.e. low profile panel antennas.

Final

  • LC based Phased array offers:
    • Electronically beam steerable flat panel antenna
    • Wide beam steering range
    • Singe and/or Multi Beam/MIMO compatible
    • High input power linearity
  • All these performances with the following advantages:
    • 5× power reduction
    • 10× cost reduction

*Taking into account cost and power consumption of the off-the-shelf active components (PA/LNA and SPDT switch)

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5G mmWave Relay Demonstration

This mm-wave Relay demonstration shows ALCAN’s Electronic beam steering capability using its patented Liquid Crystal based phase shifters:

  1. Tx/Rx in single aperture
  2. Multi-beam capability
  3. High precision beam steering
  4. Continuous beam steering
  5. Wide beam steering range
  6. Very low power consumption
  7. High scanning speed

ALCAN Systems is member of the International Wireless Industry Consortium: