The infrastructure efforts for 5G have been a big undertaking. The fifth-generation technology standard for broadcast cellular networks has been deployed worldwide since 2019. It’s a work in progress.
Transmission, of course, is the key. 5G network service is divided into small geographical cells within cell towers. Within each cell, 5G devices communicate by radio waves with a local antenna array and low-power automated transceiver using frequency channels assigned by the transceiver. In 5G infrastructures, the Massive MIMO alone requires 64 RF connectors per antenna assembly. The antennas are connected to transmission electronics connected to switching centers, which route cell and internet signals. As in other cell networks, this allows mobile devices to move seamlessly from one cell to another.
5G's big upside: 5G can support up to one million devices per square kilometer; 4G supports about one-tenth of that capacity.
So, obviously, solid radio-frequency connectors play a big role in 5G development. To date, most 5G deployments have been in the sub-6GHz.
In this week’s New Tech Tuesdays, we'll look at connector families from TE Connectivity, Amphenol/SV Microwave, and Taoglas, all featuring Frequency Range 2 bands of 25GHz and higher that promise increased speed, bandwidth, and latency. They all work specifically with 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) signal applications.
TE Connectivity’s (TE) EP-SMA 27GHz RF Connectors, Adaptors, and Cable Assemblies meet the needs of 5G, Automated Test Equipment (ATE), benchtops, modules, and radars. They’re also applicable in wireless devices such as amplifiers, couplers, dividers, mixers, relays, attenuators, fitters, and antennas. The connectors have low insertion and low voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR), which are required in test and measurement, aerospace and defense, and wireless markets. The components have the same footprint as TE’s SMA-6GHz, 12GHz, 18GHz solutions, so it’s not necessary to change the layout if a higher frequency to 27GHz or higher electrical SMA performance is desired.
The Amphenol/SV Microwave 5G Connectors, Adapters, and Cable Assemblies family features various millimeter-wave (mmWave) coaxial cable assemblies and connectors for 5G mobile communication development and production. They’re used for test equipment, strip lines, military, and aerospace applications. SV’s 26Ghz and beyond push-on and threaded RF connectors offer high signal fidelity in the 5G frequency spectrum. Developers can work with Solderless PCB Edge Launch Connectors for RF test and measurement boards for rapid prototyping, LiteTouch Solderless PCB Connectors for precision-thin substrate mounting, Mini-D RF Connection Systems for automated test equipment (ATE), product evaluation boards, and solderless PCB connectors.
Taoglas mmWave Cable Assemblies, Adapters, and Connectors are used in communication infrastructure applications, satellite communities, and military aerospace. The family features high-frequency bands from DC to 26.5GHz/40GHz and is cross-mateable to other industry standards for various applications. The adapters enable users to interface 2.92mm connectors with SMA(F), SMP(F), 2.4(F), and 2.92(F) connectors and are available in female-to-female and female-to-male combinations.
The deployment of 5G network service has been a massive undertaking in upgrading broadcast cellular communication. To make it work, RF connectors play a large role in 5G’s development and success.
Tommy Cummings is a freelance writer/editor based in Texas. He's had a journalism career that has spanned more than 40 years. He contributes to Texas Monthly and Oklahoma Today magazines. He's also worked at The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Tommy covered the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley and has been a digital content and audience engagement editor at news outlets. Tommy worked at Mouser Electronics from 2018 to 2021 as a technical content and product content specialist.
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