Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year, you know that the 5G network is the next big thing in the cellular network space. It is going to be the fastest and most reliable network known to mankind in the coming years. The improvement in terms of numbers and experience definitely makes 5G worth all the hype it is receiving today. If you think your current 4G networks are fast, imagine a 20 times higher peak speed, 10 times decrease in latency and a significant increase in coverage that 5G footprint has to offer. 5G networks will open doors for applications in virtual reality, augmented reality, remote services and solutions, automation in driving and various other processes. However, to enable 5G and all of its glorious applications, electronic manufactures are on their toes to develop high-level components on which the 5G network infrastructure would be built. These components would have to overcome a number of challenges like delivering high performance at low power and survive high thermal temperatures in smaller encapsulated material sizes.
Here’s a list of the high-level components being used to build 5G.
In simple terms, an antenna is an electronic device used in converting electric power into radio waves. There are different kinds of antenna available in the market like microstrip, monopole and dipole antennas, MIMO and patch antennas. Antennas used in 5G technology are expected to provide greater capacity and have a wider wireless spectrum. These 5G antennas are made out of advanced ceramic materials that include a mix of materials like silicon dioxide, yttrium oxide, and barium carbonate. These raw materials taken in an appropriate ratio and then synthesized to provide desirable outputs.
To protect antennas from harsh weather conditions like rain and ice, a protective enclosure is used called a radome. These radome shells are made out of a combination of different kinds of plastic. Apart from protecting the antennas, radome has additional benefits as well, like saving up on maintenance costs and reduced fabrication.
5G Microwave Circuits
Microwave circuits are built using super-conducting and ceramic materials as they can supply current and voltage, provide better stability, enhanced frequency and nominal temperatures. 5G networks use mmWave (millimetre wave) spectrum for an increased wireless data transfer. Absorbers are used to control the electromagnetic interference in mmWave. These absorbers are added to the microwave circuits to counter the effects of radiated signals on the performance of the circuit.
Power amplifiers are used to enhance the power level of a given input signal. Power amplifiers used in 5G networks are made of semiconductor gallium nitride and polybutylene PBT-package power amplifier for 28GHz. These power amplifiers can operate at higher frequencies even with low power rates. Indium phosphide (InP) is used as an alternative in providing enhanced performance at higher frequencies while consuming lower power.
Even though 5G networks are meant to be a wireless network for us, their infrastructure still requires the use of high-quality cables. Cat 6A 5G SxTP cables are designed specifically to provide applications with both indoors and outdoors. These cables are high-density tinned copper braids that can support voice and data. These copper wires are sealed using heat-conducting, flame retarding, foaming and sealing materials. According to the required weight percentage, the sealing material comprises liquid silicone rubber-based glue, a heat-conducting powder, and a foaming and auxiliary agent.
Circuit Board Substrates
In 5G network circuit board substrates, materials like alkali-free glass fibre cloth and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) are used. Some other materials that can be used in circuit board substrates are polyether ether ketone (PEEK), modified epoxy, polyphenol ether (PPE), phenolic resins, glass and flexible ceramics. These substrate materials are expected to have not only shallow values of dielectric constant (Dk), a dissipation factor (Df) and moisture absorption but also be cheap and have low manufacturing costs.
There are various other materials that are necessary for the core and strong foundation of the 5G network. In this article, we have covered some of the major materials that are necessary for the process.