Phased array antennae have become the latest area of focus for 5G, with Ericsson and IBM launching a research project into the technology.
Both companies will develop prototypes using the technology, with an aim to build antennae that have greater capacity, enable new services and offer data speeds much faster than existing infrastructure. It is hoped 5G will rival existing cable and wireless internet speeds.
Phased-array technology allows operators to use steerable antennae, which are lighter and more flexible than existing hardware. Ericsson said the tech will be used in small cells, allowing operators to increase capacity and data traffic in dense areas like shopping centres, stadiums and train stations.
Ericsson is among the vendors looking to new 5G technology as a way to satisfy predicted strains on mobile networks. The vendor has predicted that by 2019, mobile data traffic will have increased tenfold and the number of M2M devices could hit 800 million.
In July, the vendor demonstrated speeds of 5GBps on the 15GHz band. High frequency spectrum has been seen as a means of satisfying mobile broadband demands, although last week Tele2 CTO Joachim Horn said the mobile industry needed to stay focused on sub-2GHz bands.
Speaking following the announcement of the IBM team-up, Thomas Norén, Head of Product Management Radio, Ericsson, said: “We are working to solve the size barrier and look forward to developing antenna technology with IBM that will open up possibilities for new uses. We recently launched the industry’s most flexible small cell, which allows for concurrent use of multiple technologies. Even with its tablet-sized footprint, the form-factor was limited by components inside. This research collaboration will help us enable mobile network builds that provide the right coverage and capacity even in the densest urban environment.”
Dr. Mehmet Soyuer, Manager of the Communication and Computation Subsystems Department, IBM Research said the US company is looking forward to collaborating with Ericsson “to help shape the future of mobile communications”.