Flat Self-Steered High Gain Antennas for 5G Networks

Queen’s University Belfast, ECIT, Centre for Wireless Innovation

Dr. Neil Buchanan, Lecturer in High Frequency Electronics

Our scientists have researched and developed a flat self-steered high gain beam antenna, and fine-tuned this technology, originally developed to track satellites in real-time, to work in 5G networks where users will expect faster data transmissions. For this, higher frequencies will be needed, where high gain, directional, real time tracking antennas are necessary to overcome path loss.

The tracking technology is very simple as it uses off-the-shelf components and the speed of tracking is exremely fast (the satellite version worked at space launch vehicle speed).
We are confident that this high gain antenna gives at least double the range of normal omnidirectional antennas, so mobile operators can fill the gaps in their geographical coverage, even switching to satellite in hard to reach areas, hence complying quicker with 5G license requirements.

We have demonstrated that in multi-path environments such as dense urban areas, these antennas offer a big advantage as they easily scale into higher frequencies.

Our current prototypes operate at 30 GHz and 20 GHz, with the same features as the larger antenna (for satellites), they track in all directions in real-time, and we reduced the form factor to a size at which these high frequencies antennas can be embedded in 5G smartphones, at least doubling the range and performance of the mobile device.

This antenna technology brings also a massive improvement to IoT applications, from Asset Tracking to Fleet Management and V2X, all benefiting from simple, high speed tracking antennas.

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