A team of researchers has revealed a new beam-steering antenna that increases the efficiency of data transmission for ‘beyond 5G’ — and opens up a range of frequencies for mobile communications that are inaccessible to currently used technologies.
The experimental results, presented at the 3rd International Union of Radio Science Atlantic/Asia-Pacific Radio Science Meeting, indicate that the device can provide continuous ‘wide-angle’ beam steering, allowing it to track a moving mobile phone user in the same way that a satellite dish turns to track a moving object, but with significantly enhanced speeds.
“Although we developed the technology for use in 5G, our current models show that our beam steering technology may be capable of 94% efficiency at 300 GHz,” said James Churm, Researcher, University of Birmingham.
“The technology can also be adapted for use in vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, vehicular radar, and satellite communications, making it good for next generation use in automotive, radar, space and defence applications,” Churm added.
The technology has demonstrated vast improvements in data transmission efficiency at frequencies ranging across the millimetre wave spectrum, specifically those identified for 5G (mmWave) and 6G, where high efficiency is currently only achievable using slow, mechanically steered antenna solutions.
For 5G mmWave applications, prototypes of the beam-steering antenna at 26 GHz have shown unprecedented data transmission efficiency.
The device is fully compatible with existing 5G specifications that are currently used by mobile communications networks.
Moreover, the new technology does not require the complex and inefficient feeding networks required for commonly deployed antenna systems, instead using a low complexity system which improves performance and is simple to fabricate.