Ceramic Materials for 5G Wireless Communication Systems

From ceramics.org - 

In the world of wireless communication, 5G has become almost a popculture reference. It is a term frequently used to describe improved handsets, devices, and infrastructure enabling faster speeds and more bandwidth. This article presents a cursory overview of what 5G is, what are the technical pillars of 5G systems, and finally, the role ceramic materials will play in 5G technology.

To recount the history of wireless telephony, 1G systems, introduced in the 1980s, were full analog systems. These were very large, expensive devices that were essentially luxury items. 2G systems launched in 1991, and these systems were the first to use digital signals in GPRS and EDGE technologies. 3G systems launched in 2001 and had faster data rates and increased use of digital signals relative to 2G. The 2G and 3G systems featured a device called an auto-tuned combiner in the base station that selected frequencies with the use of an ultra-low loss tangent microwave dielectric material for both the analog band (< 1 GHz) and the digital band (near 2 GHz). The current 4G technology came into play around 2011 and did not use the auto-tuned combiner. Metallized ceramic dielectric rods are used for filters in the base stations for this technology. As of today, networks strain under by the current demand in the 700 MHz–2.7 GHz range. New technologies need to be deployed to utilize faster data rates needed for modern wireless communication including the Internet of Things (IoT).

The full article can be found on pages 20-25 of the latest issue from American Ceramic Society - About the authors Michael D. Hill is technical director of R&D for Skyworks RF Ceramics, and David B. Cruickshank is engineering director emeritus and a consultant for Skyworks RF Ceramics.