What is mmWave in 5G?

Posted by Eleanor Brash

What do you mean by mmWave? What is it used for in 5G? Are there any particular experts on this topic who I could talk to?


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Posted by Eleanor Brash | 3 replies
  • Zahid Ghadialy
    Senior Director, Strategic Marketing

    Millimetre wave (mmWave) actually refers to frequencies starting from 30 GHz. To keep things simple, in 5G people refer to all frequencies defined by 3GPP in FR2 range (24.25 GHz - 52.6 GHz) as mmWave.

    mmWave will be needed for high throughput 5G layer that will be deployed in dense urban areas and other traffic hotspot areas like city centres, shopping areas, etc.

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  • Millimeter waves are well suited for 5G networks. Compared to the frequencies below 5 GHz previously used by mobile devices, millimeter wave technology allows transmission on frequencies between 30 GHz and 300 GHz. These frequencies are called millimeter waves because they have wavelengths between 1 mm and 10 mm, while the wavelengths of the radio waves currently used by smartphones are mostly several dozen centimeters.

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  • A very strong use case for mmWave 5G is fixed wireless access (FWA). This refers to providing broadband access directly to homes or enterprise buildings via a wireless connection, instead of via copper or fibre in the ground. Because there is a large amount of spectrum available in the mmWave bands—very much more than in traditional mobile bands—they are well suited to delivering fibre-like speeds of 1Gbps or more.

    5G FWA is already in commercial operation in some parts of the world; for example, being offered by Verizon in the USA. Here in the UK, Cambridge company CBNL have been developing mmWave FWA systems for over a decade, and have built networks in more than 50 countries

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