Millimeter-wave and sub-TeraHz technology research trends to meet requirements of 5G and beyond – An industry view

Renato Lombardi

Huawei Fellow – Chairman of ETSI ISG mWT – Head of Italy Research Center – VP Microwave Product Line

Milan, Italy


High interest in millimeter-wave and sub-TeraHz bands has been rising in the recent years due to the enormous amount of under-utilized bandwidth that lies in this part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The significant advantages offered by the propagation characteristics in terms of frequency re-usability and large channel bandwidths, make (sub)millimeter-wave suitable for the very high data rates required by enhanced Mobile BroadBand (>10 Gpbs peak throughput and 10 Mbps/m2) both for the 5G and beyond 5G Radio Access Network and the Backhaul.

The millimeter-wave bands can be suitably used for the access networks to increase the throughput to the User Equipment and the backhaul/front-haul of the base stations as well as envisioning new applications and services for what will be beyond 5G.

At the same time the use of millimeter-wave bands, thanks to very compact antenna size that makes products “blend” in the environment, allows the densification of the cells in dense urban scenarios.

Envisioned “beyond 5G” communication architecture scenario

5G and “5G beyond” key requirements driving evolution of mobile access and wireless x-haul to millimeter-wave ranges

Analysis of the most important requirements of 5G and “beyond 5G” to drive the trends and technology at (sub-) millimeter-wave bands for wireless high data rate communications:

  • Application scenarios and potential bands for 5G and “beyond 5G”
  • new spectrum above 90 GHz and innovative ways to use it
  • technology challenges and research directions

Millimeter-wave access

Since the beginning, large antenna arrays have been exploited for radar applications in order to achieve very high spatial resolution, beamforming and null steering. This trend has been recently introduced to communication systems too, in order to provide highly-directive beams as a means to both reduce interference and increase the overall capacity, allowing spectral reuse through spatial diversity. Nowadays the big challenge is not only related to the maximization of the overall system performance – which has been proven to be very effective when considering full-phased/full-digital architectures – but is mainly focused on the economic side: the real goal is to keep cost and energy consumption sufficiently low to obtain affordable products. In this invited talk it will be presented an overview of some techniques that can be adopted to design highly integrated, energy- and cost-efficient front-ends for millimeter-wave wireless systems (mm-Waves), which – having instantaneous bandwidths of hundreds of MHz to GHz – are seen as promising technology for meeting the exploding capacity requirements of 5G (and beyond) communication networks.

Millimeter-wave and Sub-TeraHz backhaul

Research activities in the E-Band (71 to 86 GHz) and D-Band (130 to 175 GHz) for outdoor backhaul applications

  • Standardization status
  • Technology overview (semiconductor trends)
    • MMIC, Antenna, Engineering solutions
    • Propagation model from field trials results

Research activities in the Sub-TeraHz bands above 175 GHz.

%d bloggers like this: