More and more wireless devices are making the transition to 5G. Its superior speeds, bandwidth and latency allow devices to be more effective in a range of industries. Some of these applications have a complex array of components and little PCB space to spare, and that is unfortunately where 5G antennas are disadvantaged; 5G antennas are typically larger than previous cellular generations, which can prove to be a significant issue for designers to solve.
In order to gain the benefits 5G offers, device designers typically have to make the sacrifice of using an antenna that will take up valuable PCB space or suffer a hit to performance and efficiency. But now, 5G antenna technology has progressed to become smaller and still maintain extremely fast speeds with high performance.
Why is size important for 5G antennas?
5G often uses lower frequency bands as the higher frequencies have difficulty with range and object penetration. For an antenna to perform efficiently and hit network approval thresholds, its ground plane must be a quarter of the wavelength of the lowest frequency. Lower frequency bands mean longer wavelengths, which means that 5G antennas have larger ground planes to avoid impacting the total radiated power (TRP).
The demand for the faster properties of 5G within a compact PCB is prevalent through a wide range of applications. For example, a drone needs to save PCB space for a range of components whilst simultaneously streaming a real-time feed of high quality video to another device. The demand for size and performance is also seen with wearables that strive to be as miniature as possible whilst also offering a wide array of real-time services, which means they have to accommodate for the larger size of 5G antennas.
Where the superior speeds and connectivity of 5G makes it seem like the future of cellular networks, the issue of antenna size is effectively inhibiting its progression in cellular technology. But as time goes on, we are seeing smaller 5G antennas without negatively impacting performance or efficiency.
How small are 5G antennas?
With the importance of size and performance in wireless device design, manufacturers are devising ways to make smaller 5G antennas whilst maintaining the same levels of efficiency. Antenova offers a range of 5G antennas that vary in size and type for specific applications, and all have impressive performance and features alongside.
Antenova’s Lepida is a high performance SMD antenna that also supports 4G and LTE connectivity as well as 5G. It has a unique design that offers high efficiency across all bands and is easy to integrate. The antenna is suitable for applications that require the highest level of performance and is relatively compact with dimensions of 50.6 x 10.6 x 3.3 (mm).
Allani is another SMD antenna that supports multiple cellular networks with 3G, 4G and 5G connectivity. It is also significantly smaller than Lepida at 45 x 10 x 3.3 (mm) whilst simultaneously maintaining high performance. Allani is perfect for applications like pick & place machines, CCTV and is suitable for all carriers in the US, EMEA and Asia.
Integrating small 5G antennas into your device
Integrating small 5G antennas into your device heavily relies upon having a clear and concise understanding of the factors that can affect performance and efficiency. At Antenova, we offer a range of resources and guides to ensure you can integrate the right 5G antenna for your device.
Click here to use our antenna selection and placement tool to choose the right antenna based on your PCB size, technologies and preferred layout.