The final architecture of 5G cellular networks has yet to be carved in stone. However, it looks as though millimeter waves, with their ability to obtain wider bandwidths, will play an important role in 5G—the next generation of mobile phones. The combination of these bands along with directional phased-array antennas, in which radio waves can be steered electronically in a desired direction, will constitute one of the key technologies in future 5G cellular systems.
While there have been a number of research efforts that have demonstrated that these phased-array antennas can be added into mobile phones using low-cost substrate boards, no one had demonstrated that it’s possible to build these antennas into phones with full metallic casings, as can be found in the high-end mobile devices from numerous manufacturers.
Now researchers from the Shanghai Institute for Advanced Communication and Data Science at Shanghai University in China have developed a 28 Gigahertz (GHz) beam-steering antenna array that can be integrated into the metallic casing of 5G mobile phones.