‘Beam-steering’ technology takes mobile communication beyond 5G


A new beam-steering antenna enhances transmission efficiency and opens up frequencies for accessible mobile communications in current technology.

Scientists in Birmingham have unveiled a new beam-steering antenna that enhances data transmission efficiency for ‘out of 5G’ – and opens up a range of frequencies for mobile communications that are not accessible to current technologies.

Experimental results, presented in 3 for the first time todayrd The International Union of Radiosciences Atlantic / Asia-Pacific Radio Science Meeting, shows that the device can provide continuous “wide-angle” beam steering, allowing a mobile phone user to track, similarly a satellite dish to rotate a moving object. With improved speed.


Designed by researchers at the University of Birmingham’s School of Engineering, the technology has shown significant improvements in data transmission efficiency across frequencies across the millimeter wave spectrum, especially for 5G (mmWave) and 6G, where high efficiency is currently only slow, mechanically driven. Achieving using solutions.

For 5G mmWave applications, prototypes of 26 GHz beam steering antennas have demonstrated unprecedented data transmission efficiency.

The device is now fully compatible with existing 5G specifications used by mobile communication networks. Additionally, the new technology does not require the complex and inefficient feed network required for commonly installed antenna systems, but instead uses a low-complexity system that improves performance and is easy to build.

The ray steering antenna was developed by Dr. James Charm, Dr. Muhammad Rabbani, and Alexandros Ferresidis, head professor of the Metamaterial Engineering Laboratory, as a solution for fixed base station antennas, for which current technology is less effective at high frequencies. Use this frequency for long distance transmission.

The size of an iPhone, the technology uses a metamaterial, made from a sheet of metal with holes spaced a few micrometers in diameter. An actuator controls the height of a cavity in the metamaterial, provides micrometric motion, and depending on its position, the antenna will control the ray deviation of a radio wave – effectively “focusing” the beam on a high-directional signal, and then increasing transmission efficiency as desired. Redirect that force. “

The team is currently developing and testing prototypes on higher frequency and applications that go beyond 5G mobile communications.

Dr. Charm commented: “Although we have developed the technology for use in 5G, our current models show that our beam steering technology can be capable of 94% efficiency at 300 GHz. The technology can also be adapted for use in vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure, vehicle-radar and satellite communications, making it ideal for next-generation use in automotive, radar, aerospace and other applications.

The University of Birmingham Enterprise has filed a patent application for this next-generation beam steering antenna technology and is looking for industry partners for collaboration, product development or licensing.

The effectiveness of the underlying technology and other aspects have been through a peer review process, published in reputable journals and presented at academic conferences.1,2,3,4.

Dr Charma added: “We are combining another work for publication and presentation that will demonstrate an unprecedented level of skill for transmitting radio waves at these challenging frequencies. Due to space constraints, we are confident that the beam steering antenna is suitable for a wide range of 5G and 6G applications as well as satellite and Internet of Things.

*Metamaterial is a term used for materials that have been engineered for special properties that are not found in natural materials. These properties may include manipulation of electromagnetic waves by blocking, absorbing, modifying or distorting the waves.

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