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Facing the next generation of communication development 5G system / RF antenna design has a knack

  • Categories:News Center
  • Time of issue:2021-01-25 10:44
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(Summary description)The pace of 5G commercialization has been accelerating. 5G mobile phones have been launched since 2019. At the same time, countries have also issued 5G spectrum licenses, which is expected to drive huge business opportunities for the development of 5G networks and devices. Based on this, this article will design 5G communication systems and radio frequency antennas. Set out to discuss how to overcome the challenges of 5G terminal product design.

Facing the next generation of communication development 5G system / RF antenna design has a knack

(Summary description)The pace of 5G commercialization has been accelerating. 5G mobile phones have been launched since 2019. At the same time, countries have also issued 5G spectrum licenses, which is expected to drive huge business opportunities for the development of 5G networks and devices. Based on this, this article will design 5G communication systems and radio frequency antennas. Set out to discuss how to overcome the challenges of 5G terminal product design.

  • Categories:News Center
  • Author:Lu Jiarou
  • Origin:
  • Time of issue:2021-01-25 10:44
  • Views:
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The pace of 5G commercialization has been accelerating. 5G mobile phones have been launched since 2019. At the same time, countries have also issued 5G spectrum licenses, which is expected to drive huge business opportunities for the development of 5G networks and devices. Based on this, this article will design 5G communication systems and radio frequency antennas. Set out to discuss how to overcome the challenges of 5G terminal product design.

5G can be called the popular fried chicken. According to Ericsson's 2019 Mobile Trends Report, the first wave of 5G devices launched in 2018 were pocket routers. With the launch of the first batch of commercial 5G services, the first batch of 5G smartphones were launched in the Asia-Pacific region, North America and Europe in the early second quarter of 2019. Despite the tight deployment time and heavy business of 5G, device suppliers are expected to provide devices supporting different frequency bands and architecture series in 2019. For example, due to the increased willingness to deploy 5G across the entire network, the first batch of low-frequency (below 1 GHz) devices are expected to be available at the end of 2019. Therefore, by the end of 2019, there will be more than 10 million 5G users worldwide. Starting in 2020, the number of 5G devices in each frequency band is expected to grow substantially (Figure 1).


Figure 1 Timeline of 5G devices on the market
In order to meet the different use cases required by consumers and vertical industries, the pace of commercial 5G technology deployment is accelerating. However, 5G product development has a variety of new challenges, especially millimeter wave (mmWave) and other RF related designs, such as active antenna arrays, beam forming, power consumption and path loss, OTA (Over-the-air) Test challenges are headaches.

High-speed/large-capacity/wide coverage needs 5G frequency band goes straight to millimeter wave

Chen Wenjiang (Figure 2), deputy head of the emerging wireless application technology group of the Institute of Information Technology of the Industrial Technology Research Institute, said that according to research institutes, there will be 50 billion networked devices in 2020. At this time, 1,000 times the capacity is required, plus 3GPP definition The transmission speed of more than 100 times and the demand for a wider coverage area need to rely on the assistance of high-frequency millimeter waves.


Figure 2 Chen Wenjiang, deputy head of the emerging wireless application technology group of the Institute of Information Technology of the Industrial Technology Research Institute, believes that the introduction of millimeter wave technology will help increase the faster transmission rate and capacity.
In fact, as early as 2015, the industry talked about the feasibility of millimeter wave applications. However, due to the large challenges and high costs of millimeter waves, this technology was completely overwhelmed after discussions at the time; but so far, the 5G era still needs millimeters. For wave applications, the biggest factor is that millimeter waves can provide a very large available bandwidth. For example, the 28GHz frequency band itself has 800MHz bandwidth, while 37-40GHz can provide 3,000MHz bandwidth.

Chen Wenjiang mentioned that in the early 3GPP formulation of 5G standards, it explored many ways to improve spectrum efficiency, and also proposed many feasible modulation technologies, but finally discovered the spectrum improved by modulation technologies during the development from 4G to 5G. The efficiency is only about 20-40% at most, and the improvement is not large. Therefore, 3GPP has begun to plan to use 5G in the millimeter wave frequency band. Even if this method does not change the modulation technology, as long as the bandwidth is larger, the transmission speed and capacity will be automatically increased, thereby meeting the 5G goal of high transmission speed and high capacity.

Infineon (Infineon) senior application engineer Xu Zhewei (Figure 3) pointed out that big data requires higher throughput. At this time, the use of large bandwidth needs spontaneously arises. Infineon can now provide 100MHz bandwidth in Sub-6GHz. The millimeter wave 28GHz and 39GHz can be provided to 800MHz, in order to cope with the transmission over a large amount of bandwidth. On the whole, the new frequency band will bring a lot of bandwidth, and it will also be accompanied by the introduction of different new technologies. For example, in the 4G era, MIMO technology is added, and millimeter wave is the introduction of beamforming technology. Of course, in the entire system, because of the frequency band As more, the required power consumption will also be another challenge.


Figure 3 Xu Zhewei, a senior application engineer at Infineon, said that how to overcome physical limitations and increase data throughput is a goal that chip vendors are actively pursuing.
Coverage/stability/device size 5G mobile devices three major challenges

Liao Zhaoxiang (Figure 4), the global OTA technology director of the Taiwan Inspection Technology Wireless Communication Laboratory, said that there are three major challenges to be overcome in the design of 5G mobile phones, including transmission distance coverage, robustness, and device size and power consumption issues. In terms of coverage, because the millimeter wave transmission distance is limited, the small cell plays an important role and plays a key element in receiving the signal. However, the general voice call is still dominated by the Sub-6GHz frequency band (Figure 5).


Figure 4 Liao Zhaoxiang, the global OTA technical director of the Taiwan Inspection Technology Wireless Communication Laboratory, pointed out that coverage, stability, device size and power consumption are the biggest challenges for mobile devices.

Figure 5 Three major 5G mobile phone design challenges
Chen Wenjiang added that the millimeter wave wavelength is very short, close to the particle level, so the millimeter wave wavelength will affect its transmission when it comes into contact with water vapor and oxygen molecules. In other words, the power of millimeter waves from the base station is not easily transmitted to the mobile phone. This is the so-called loss problem. The millimeter wave is easily affected by anything in the path and attenuates quickly, so the energy reaches the mobile phone. Very few. Therefore, the main considerations of millimeter wave outdoor are far more than indoors.

Secondly, in terms of stability, it is usually necessary to verify that the hand interferes with the phone itself before the phone leaves the factory. Because electromagnetic waves are easily attracted by hands, the placement of the antenna becomes very important. If the antenna is placed within the range of the hand, it cannot be transmitted, and the measured signal is very poor.

Finally, today’s mobile phones have built-in various wireless network technologies, including Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi, NFC, and even wireless charging technology. Coupled with the antennas of the cellular network itself, the number of antennas in the mobile phone itself is less than ten. More than supporting antennas, and the introduction of 5G millimeter wave technology further raises the limit of the number of mobile phone antennas, so power consumption, antenna placement and size are very important.

Xu Zhewei added that when a 5G UE device needs to squeeze more components in the existing space, the integration of the antenna is also a big challenge factor, because the antenna is basically related to λ (Lambda), the space used by the antenna It is closely related, when a mobile phone needs to use more antennas, antenna design will be very difficult.

On the other hand, power consumption has always been a major concern for mobile phone development. It is very difficult to use MIMO technology for data throughput and download, and it is very difficult to apply to higher frequency bands (representing high loss). If you want to squeeze more antennas and more frequency bands in a limited antenna space, it is designed with components From a point of view, of course you need an LNA to filter the noise. At this time, higher gain must be emphasized.

From 4G to 5G base station design is different

According to Xu Zhewei's analysis, the transition from 4G to 5G standards can be divided into four major types of design differences at the transmission end, including high output power, sounding reference signal (SRS), high linearity (High Linearity) and wide frequency operating range (Wide Frequency Operation Range) difference. Compared with 4G, 5G transmission requires higher power, and the required power is as high as 26dBm, which can be said to be twice as much as in the 4G era.

In addition, another special feature is the SRS function. When the 5G NR band sends a TX signal in Sub-6GHz, it is necessary to use the 4 MIMO antennas to detect a stronger signal on the side, and then use that signal for TX transmission. For example, 3GPP requires the SRS of component suppliers to be within 10ms (or 5ms).

It is worth mentioning that when the TX signal is transmitted to the RX signal, all RX links will not be pure RX (pure RX) links. The designer must consider that there may be a strong signal backfilling in, so in the component selection Or the design needs to think twice.

Xu Zhewei said that Infineon's Sub-6GHz can provide a low insertion loss (Insertion Loss) solution. It is understood that the insertion loss is the signal power loss caused by the insertion of the component into the transmission line or optical fiber, especially at high frequencies, so the low insertion loss solution has its necessary value. In addition, if SRS or complex 4G and 5G links are connected in series, there must be many front-end crossbar switches (Switches), and switches and components of different categories to realize complex system design. Furthermore, since different platform providers and telecom companies have different Switch-time requirements, any component also needs to meet this service.

5G antenna design challenges big CST simulation to shorten test time

As mentioned above, 5G antenna design faces great challenges, including Beam Forming, antenna array and interference issues. Therefore, high-efficiency equipment is required for simulation in the millimeter wave frequency band during design. Chen Hanchao, a senior engineer at Shimeng Technology (Figure 6), said that through the CST simulation tool process, the design from micro-array to large-scale array can be smoothly transferred; in addition, Antenna Magus modules provide antenna and array synthesis for rapid design exploration and ideas When the initial concept germinates, there are tools to evaluate the performance of the concept. For CST, the overall system simulation evaluation is critical to the performance of the antenna.


Figure 6 Chen Hanchao, senior engineer of Shimeng Technology, said that CST simulation will help simplify 5G antenna design challenges.
From the perspective of simulation, the most important consideration must be the complex electromagnetic environment and multi-physical field collaborative design. The more challenge lies in the difficulty of the overall design of the 5G antenna plus terminal products and other antennas. A problem with 5G millimeter wave array antennas is multi-beam scanning, which has a large number of scanning angles; this is why 5G terminals require high computational efficiency and high power consumption.

When designing such a complex antenna array with a large number of scanning angles, if software can be used to help designers easily create these antenna element models, they can easily set the amplitude and phase of the excitation signal, and scan a large number of The permutation and combination of excitation can improve the design efficiency of 5G antennas.

The electromagnetic simulation software CST STUDIO SUITE has the function of designing the antenna matrix, including the unit design of the antenna, the generation of the phased array, and the automatic parameterized scanning of the excitation signal, all of which are easily competent.

The 5G spectrum of various countries is roughly determined

5G spectrum can be divided into two types: Sub-6GHz and millimeter wave. The focus of low frequency consideration is on the coverage. Chen Wenjiang believes that 5G needs to cover most of the area before it will begin to spread rapidly. Especially now we will slowly see the emergence of 5G mobile phones. If there is no base station support, communication is still impossible, so the first thing to do is to meet the wider coverage, and Sub-6GHz will be the first wave of frequency bands. In the millimeter wave part, Japan, the United States, South Korea and other countries basically use 28GHz, while China prefers 26GHz (Figure 7).


Figure 7 Comparison table of 5G spectrum drawing scores in various countries
Source: Shimeng Technology
Chen Wenjiang mentioned that in Taiwan, NCC adopts a multi-stage dynamic spectrum interpretation strategy. After the Executive Yuan announces the revised spectrum list, it is estimated that NCC will conduct the first wave of 5G interpretation in the fourth quarter of 2019 and early 2020 at the latest. , 270MHz is expected to be released in the 3.5GHz mid-band, 2,500MHz in the 28GHz high-frequency band, and 20MHz in the 1.8GHz band.

On the whole, the commercial development of 5G is imperative. With the active promotion of relevant supply chains, I believe it will further accelerate the pace of 5G popularization, which is expected to drive services in the consumer and vertical application fields and provide the future for relevant supply chain players. The growth of revenue is a boost.

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