It will be a while before 5G will become a mainstream reality. In order for that to happen, there are a series of complications which need to be figured out and hardware components that need to be pieced together. Silicon maker, Qualcomm has been working towards that future too and its new mmWave antennas could potentially solve one of the biggest hurdles of bringing 5G connectivity to smartphones.
You see, while mmWave, a 5G spectrum band, offers a significantly faster bandwidth than what we have today, it also has a much shorter range and its connection can be easily blocked by minor obstacles such as walls or even your hand. Qualcomm thinks its new QTM052 mmWave antenna modules are the answer to that exact conundrum.
The component is essentially a tiny antenna array of the size of a coin that features four antennas which can automatically point the device towards the closest 5G tower. With the help of the company’s own algorithms, the module is even capable of bouncing signals off surfaces to deliver connectivity to a phone. In addition, Qualcomm says the antenna can be embedded into the bezel of a phone. While that pitch might sound a little flawed if you’ve been following the recent smartphone trends, it shows how little the four antenna array is.
The Qualcomm QTM052 antenna can be integrated into the company’s X50 5G modem which itself can fit four of such arrays resulting in a total of 16 antennas situated across each side of a phone. Therefore, no matter how you hold your phone, the 5G signal won’t be interrupted. Of course, to see how well Qualcomm’s claims translate into real-life usage, a bunch of things need to happen including, of course, actual 5G networks. Qualcomm mentions that the first smartphones with the QTM052 antennas should be available as early as the beginning of 2019.