5G communication achieved with a glass antenna


Monday, 10 June, 2019


5G communication achieved with a glass antenna

Japanese mobile operator NTT DOCOMO, glass supplier AGC and communications provider Ericsson have achieved what they believed to be the world’s first 5G mobile telecommunications using an antenna embedded in synthetic fused silica glass to transmit and receive 28 GHz 5G radio signals for stable, high-speed mobile communication in buildings, vehicles and trains.

The antenna was used to verify 28 GHz 5G mobile communication with downlink speeds averaging 1.3 Gbps within a 100 m range and reaching a maximum of 3.8 Gbps at 400 MHz. The verification tests, which used a vehicle fitted with multiple antennas and travelling about 30 km/h, were conducted in the Sumida area of Tokyo between 22 April and 28 May.

Radio signals in the 28 GHz band are more linear than 4G LTE signals, so they are not strong enough to adequately penetrate windows in buildings, vehicles and railway cars. The glass antenna can be attached to window surfaces to enable radio waves to be received and relayed in ideal directions for stable, high-speed 5G communications under challenging indoor and in-vehicle conditions.

Antennas were used in multiple spots on the test vehicle, including the windshield, side windows and rear window, enabling data to be transmitted and received in ideal directions for maximum signal strength. As a result, stable, high-speed communication was achieved even in urban areas where signals were blocked or reflected by obstacles.

The 5G glass antenna’s small size and transparent appearance allow it to be installed unobtrusively in buildings, vehicles, etc, without impairing the installation object’s appearance or design, or people’s line of sight. Going forward, DOCOMO, AGC and Ericsson will continue to refine antenna technology to enable the glass antenna to function compatibly with Massive MIMO — a technology that uses multiple antennas to transmit and receive data, aiming to achieve faster 5G communication speeds and expanded 5G use under diverse conditions.

Image caption: The 5G glass-embedded antenna.

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