With 5G mmWave technology already deploying in the US, I was glad to oversee the EDI CON USA 2018 5G Symposium in Oct that included a full afternoon of sessions including topics such as the best RF architectures for 5G, semiconductor tradeoffs for 5G mmWave devices, antenna modeling, simulation of fixed wireless access systems, design of a 28 GHz filter and silicon active antennas for mmWave applications. It is surprising that the first two commercial 5G deployments in the US are mmWave technologies with Verizon deploying mmWave fixed wireless access using Samsung “pucks” and AT&T deploying the first standards compliant mmWave mobile 5G using NetGear web browsing tablets. Both are utilizing the 28 and 39 GHz bands so these are key frequencies for design engineers today plus expected deployments in the 24 GHz band after new auctions.
There were 3 sessions in the event on device technology approaches that gave great perspectives on the semiconductor choices and block diagram configurations that can be used in various scenarios:
- All Silicon Active Array Antennas for High Performance mmWave Systems by Ian Gresham and Alastair Upton from Anokiwave
- Bits to Beams – RF Technology Evolution for 5G mmWave Radios by Thomas Cameron from Analog Devices
- RF Front-end Technology and Tradeoffs for 5G mmWave Fixed Wireless Access by Bror Peterson from Qorvo
These are all linked to the submitted papers that we have published online since they give some excellent advice on the trade offs of various technologies and architectures.
On the simulation and modeling side, Greg Skidmore from Remcom presented on Using Modeling and Simulation to Assess Challenges and Solutions for 5G Fixed Wireless Access; James Young from ETS Lindgren presented on 5G and mmWave Device Measurement Challenges; and Laila Salman from ANSYS on Realistic Antenna Array Modeling for 5G Communications. NI/AWR and Reactel teamed up to present on Designing a Narrowband 28 GHz Bandpass Filter for 5G Applications including measured results from a proto-type and we expect to publish their results early next year.
Closing out the EDI CON USA 5G Symposium was an interesting and lively panel session that looked at the best architectures for 5G including topics such as level of integration, RF partitioning tradeoffs, digital versus analog beam forming, integrated Si versus III/V devices, single-chip versus multi-chip modules, and IF considerations such as direct digital synthesis. The expert panelists included Thomas Cameron, Director of Wireless Technology at Analog Devices; Alastair Upton, Senior VP Business Development at Anokiwave; Bror Peterson, Wireless Systems Architect at Qorvo; and Naveen Yanduru, Vice President at IDT. Much of the session was spent answering questions from the audience and there was a great debate between an all silicon solution versus GaN RF front ends between Qorvo and Anokiwave/IDT.
We include 5G tracks or symposiums at all of our major events including EDI CON in China and the US, EuMW and typically organize a panel at IMS. So look for these to continue for the next few years as we meet the challenges of 5G.