Project to develop new 5G antennas

Today, a significant part of the developments in the telecommunications sector are aimed at the development of 5th generation (5G) mobile networks. The main motivation for this is the exponential increase in the amount of data to be transmitted. Mobile operators have begun to build high-capacity, cost-effective backbone connections. The capacity requirement of each base station is often close to 10 Gbps. Most of the planned base stations will be connected to the backbone network via microwave links. One of the most effective means of expanding data transmission capacity is to increase the bandwidths used, which requires the use of radio frequency bands in a higher range. Accordingly, the frequencies to be used for backbone connections on 5G networks will start at 70 GHz and will range from a few to 100 GHz.

Such point-to-point connections will be established using satellite dishes. The attenuation of an electromagnetic wave increases with propagation as a function of frequency. Precipitation (rain, snow, ice, etc.) significantly increases attenuation in the higher microwave frequency bands. The gain of the satellite dish increases as a function of frequency and compensates for the propagation attenuation. Higher gains in the 80 GHz band result in a very narrow beam, making antenna alignment and stability critical. If the antenna support structure (towers, buildings, etc.) is twisted or bent (eg due to strong winds or thermal expansion), the microwave connection may be lost. Approached from the problem of transmission capacity, increasing the frequency is advantageous, but disadvantageous in terms of availability in extreme weather conditions.

Antennas operating in a 5G environment typically serve short connections, as this is the cheapest way to ensure the expected bandwidth and availability.
Based on the expected results of the R & D activity in the project, we propose a new satellite dish design (dual-band antenna), which is not yet used in the telecommunications sector and which can operate in two frequency bands alone. One is a high frequency band where high data rates can be provided with relatively lower availability (99.9%) and the other is a lower, spare frequency band with lower transmission rates but higher availability - 99.999% - the system switches automatically in unfavorable weather conditions.

The new design can be supplemented in individual cases (eg in the case of a long range requirement) with an adjusting device that can automatically stabilize the microwave beam. The dual-band antenna, complemented by such an adjustment structure, significantly increases the quality of service.
The market for the planned technology could be any domestic and foreign mobile operator, for whom additional savings would be required to pay rent for only two (and not four) endpoint antennas during the construction of a section, while improving the quality of the connection.

Based on the pre-indicated parameters of similar antennas announced on the market so far (but not even available from any manufacturer), it is clear that the efficiency of antennas currently being designed elsewhere will not or only barely reach 50%. On the other hand, according to our plans, mainly due to the special design of the primary radiator, the efficiency of the construction resulting from our research and development will reach 60%.

By the end of the joint project of SCI-Hálózat zRt. and Innomatrix Services Kft. (2018-1.1.2-KFI-2018-00048), it will be possible to appear on the world market in good time with competitive products with better technical parameters and that is suitable for series production.