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5G spawns new interfaces, antenna designs

Posted: 29 Sep 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:5G  MIMO  millimetre wave band  IoT 

Two new air interfaces and new antenna designs based on emerging massive MIMO technology may arise for 5G cellular by 2020, wireless experts say. Also, LTE might even breach the Gbit/s barrier.

"We should consider a new air interface for the millimetre wave band, and there are some opportunities for [another air interface aimed at] IoT access," said Kenneth Stewart, chief wireless technologist at Intel in a talk at an event hosted by Wi-Fi specialist Quantenna.

Stewart suggested that in the broad category of the Internet of Things, some devices could benefit from a tailored air interface, such as devices "that don't have to sync before they transmit... We'd like to see innovation targeted to specific use cases."

2020-class wireless chip

Stewart sketched out his concept for a 2020-class wireless chip.

LTE and Wi-Fi will continue to live on for years after the advent of 5G, Stewart said. He showed a concept for a 2020 wireless chip (above) using a full suite of 3, 4, and 5G interfaces supporting as many as 60 LTE bands in addition to 802.11ax Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0. "We don't see a fundamental obstacle to delivering this device."

He challenged the audience to invent the killer handset for such a chipset:

The one thing we are missing is the device or user experience that does for 5G what the iPhone did for 3G and 4G—it demanded those networks be deployed. We have not yet seen the device that merits the 5G networks of the future. We think there is opportunity to find and deliver that device.

Experts generally agreed the advances of 5G will depend heavily on use of millimetre wave frequencies and massive MIMO antennas. "Most of the interest and benefits [of 5G] lies in [use of] millimetre wave bands" around 28GHz to 90GHz, Stewart said.

Getting a start in this direction, Intel is rolling out a 60GHz WiGig product called Maple Peak for wireless laptop docking stations. It uses a 2x8 flip-chip bonded antenna array. "The challenge is mainly in power efficiency—there is fundamental work to do in this space."

The ITU laid out a set of goals for 5G networks (below) including data rates in excess of 10Gbit/s for some services. "We believe this will come in Wi-Fi and LTE in millimetre wave bands."

Goals for 5G

Stewart predicted LTE will deliver Gbit/s data rates by the end of the decade. "If we are lucky," handsets will also be able to use technologies such as massive MIMO to transmit and receive data in the same band.

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