New Kind of ES Antenna for 5G

25 February, 2019

With the help of MACOM, Pivotal Commware from Washington, US, succeed in the developing of its Holographic Beam Forming technology, aimed to reduce the cost and complexity of 5G networks

Photo above: Brian Deutsch, CEO of Pivotal Commware with the Echo 5G

The future of 5G infrastructures will be heavily dependent on beam forming antenna technologies for its mmWave frequencies. But here is the problem: current solutions are rich with computing for their complicated algorithms, they consume a lot of energy and comprise of expensive components. Pivotal Commware from Kirkland, Washington, said last week that its innovative Holographic Beam Forming technology can answer all those issues at one stroke.

Holographic Beam Forming™ is a new beamforming technique using a Software Defined Antenna with no active amplification internally. It was derived from the field of metamaterials research. Metamaterial  is a structure made from assemblies of multiple elements in a repeating pattern. When their size is much lower than the waves of light, they change the refractive index of the surface, thus can be used to block, absorb, enhance or bending the waves.

The Center for Metamaterials and Integrated Plasmonics in Duke University, US, found a way to replicate this phenomena in the region of mmWaves. The researchers employed active magnetic metamaterial comprised of an embedded radiofrequency amplifier and a tunable phase shifter, which together control the response of the medium. Based on this idea, Pivotal Commware was established in 2016, to develop an effective and low cost solution for mmWaves communication systems.

Last week Pivotal introduced its first practical product, Echo 5G In-Building Penetration Device, and announced in a press conference in Munich the integration of MACOM’s mmWave products manufactured with unique GaAs and AlGaAs process technology, inside its Echo 5G product. This is a window-mounted, self-installable Subscriber product overcome the biggest obstacle to fixed 5G wireless access at millimeter waves: In-building low penetration of Gigabit speed broadband to homes and businesses.

Holographic Beam Forming allows Echo 5G to penetrate Low-E glass coatings and multiple panes of glass using very little power, which drives its low weight and size profile on the window. In general, Echo 5G enables 5G service providers to close the mmWave business case for serving fixed and mobile subscribers with higher performance. It comprise two back-to-back Echo 5Gs cooperating to route and shape RF energy around obstacles like buildings and boost coverage to extend the range of the 5G base station.

This way, service providers can organically grow the 5G-coverage footprint while avoiding costly base station deployment. In a long run, it means that the new technology can change the topology of 5G Cellular Networks. According to Brian Deutsch, CEO of Pivotal Commware, “During live 5G field trials with a major U.S. mobile operator, the Echo 5G Subscriber successfully demonstrated 1.3 Gbps of throughput indoors at 28 GHz where no connectivity had existed without the Echo 5G. It allows wireless carriers to achieve the cost economics needed to effectively compete against wired broadband service incumbents.”

Dr. Douglas Carlson, SVP and General Manager of MACOM's RF and Microwave Business Unit
Dr. Douglas Carlson, SVP and General Manager of MACOM’s RF and Microwave Business Unit

He said that the development success is a result of a close cooperation with MACOM, which supplied the mmWave products needed to build the smart antennas. In one case, MACOM even developed and produced a specific amplifier needed to fulfill the task. Dr. Douglas Carlson, SVP and General Manager of MACOM’s RF and Microwave Business Unit, explained that the company is developing new technologies to dramatically reduce the cost of mmWave components and systems.

Carlson: “mmWave communications must overcome many challenges, including cost, component size, thermal management, architecture and multiple frequency bands. It demands new kind of products and technologies. We are now expanding our capabilities in technologies such as AlGaAs PIN Diode process, HMIC, GaN on Silicon and new integration technologies, to answer those issues and to provide the best solution for each function.”


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