Samsung Gets Ready to Shrink 5G Antennas & Chipsets

Dan Jones
7/5/2016

Samsung says that it will soon introduce miniaturized antennas and chipsets aimed at catching the first wave of 5G.

5G is the next-generation wireless technology intended to deliver data-over-the air at speeds up to 100 times faster than today's 4G networks. This means that a full movie could be downloaded in mere seconds.

Mobile operators and equipment vendors have said that one of the elements that could hold back 5G, which is expected to be in commercial deployment by 2020, is the lack of miniaturization of antennas and other components for the upcoming technology.

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) now says that it is developing "5G-ready antenna and power amplifier technologies" that the vendor says can be used in future small cells and user devices.

Crucially, Samsung says that it has developed an antenna, "which incorporates dozens of antenna elements in a module that is less than 1mm thick." One of the foundational concepts of 5G is using multiple antenna arrays to steer and speed up data transmissions over relatively short ranges, which means shrinking down the size of multiple input multiple output (MIMO) antenna arrays.


For all the latest news on 5G, visit the dedicated 5G site here on Light Reading.


"Up until now, trial equipment has been fairly large, including the cabinet-sized base stations and 'user devices' that must be mounted on the top of a vehicle," Paul Kyungwhoon Cheun, EVP and head of the Next Generation Business Team says. "Advanced chipsets will allow smaller devices and base stations and enable the ultra-broadband throughputs expected from 5G."

Samsung is very focused on developing its 5G-ready systems based on millimeter wave (mmWave) high-frequency technology. The company has alighted on 28GHz systems that are being tested by SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM) and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) among others. (See Verizon Hits 1-Gig+ in 5G Trials, Eyes Early Applications and SK Telecom Claims 5G Trial Milestone.)

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this year, Samsung had been using a 60GHz WiFi module with its Galaxy phones to give a concept of the capabilities of 5G. Cheun says that a prototype chipset using Samsung's preferred 28GHz frequency is coming in the "near future." (See Samsung Aims for Super-Fast 60GHz WiFi in 2015.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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TV Monitor
TV Monitor
7/7/2016 | 11:29:37 AM
Re: 5G/LTE/WiFi
Gabriel Brown

The 5G Galaxy phone won't be made available to outsiders, only to insiders next year during the period of initial stabilization.

The date when the 5G Galaxy phone makes its debut to outsiders(visiting foreign press to cover the Olympics) is during the Pyeongchang Olympics in February of 2018. KT and Samsung's plan is to demonstrate to world press that Samsung 5G works as advertised in real world conditions, then ram Samsung 5G through 3GPP meeting in the Fall of 2018 to make it 3GPP's standard mmwave 5G standard, in the absense of a rival technology with similar maturity.

But based on the result of MHN demo, the chances of Samsung 5G Galaxy phone working by early 2018 is very good. A Facebook VP recently walked into a Seoul subway, and was shocked to see dozens of people watching HD streaming video on their phones in the subway car while moving. How can this be? Where is this bandwidth coming from? It was being delivered by MHN system, a 30 Ghz mmwave WLAN datalink system that was delivering 2 Gbits/s per 8 car train set. The train mounted 30 Ghz receiver is router sized, and connects to user phones via WiFi. Samsung 5G Galaxy phone would essentally be the shrunk version of this system.
Gabriel Brown
Gabriel Brown
7/7/2016 | 4:42:27 AM
Re: 5G/LTE/WiFi
The proof will be how well the prototype device actually performs. It will be a very, very impressive feat if they pull this off convincingly by this time next year.
TV Monitor
TV Monitor
7/6/2016 | 11:48:08 AM
Re: 5G/LTE/WiFi
Dan Jones

The first 5G modem chip is due out later this year. Currently, Samsung 5G's modem was simulated on an FPGA board. Antenna is ready for implementation today.

This is why I keep saying Samsung was years ahead of Nokia and Ericsson in mmwave 5G, because they could deliver an actual 5G phone in tester's hand by August of next year.
DanJones
DanJones
7/6/2016 | 11:18:41 AM
Re: 5G/LTE/WiFi
His full quote:

"In the near future, we will follow suit with a prototype 28GHz chipset," from a Q&A published by Samsung itself, linked in the article, so I take it they know what their schedule is.

But yes, I would expect that "near future" doesn't mean years in this case.
TV Monitor
TV Monitor
7/6/2016 | 11:09:06 AM
Re: 5G/LTE/WiFi
Dan Jones

The article was in past tense, not in future tense. The antennas are ready to be integrated into devices now.


In other word, the 28 Ghz antenna are ready to go into prototype 5G Galaxy phones and 5G base stations to be released for beta testing by August and June of next year respectively, for a live demonstration before visiting world press and wireless industry executives at Pyeongchang in February of 2018.

This is a make or a break moment for KT and Samsung, as their officials claim that there are a whole bunch of carriers eyeing their demonstration and are ready to sign up to Samsung 5G if it works as advertised.
DanJones
DanJones
7/6/2016 | 10:04:19 AM
5G/LTE/WiFi
Further out, Samsung is looking at an architecture that hands off between the different techs.