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Huawei announces a breakthrough in 5G antenna design

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While many of you know Huawei as the world’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer, it is also the leading provider of networking equipment on the planet. And no matter what you think of the company and its perceived ties to the communist Chinese government, Huawei does produce some outstanding handsets. Its networking gear is said to be 12 to 18 months ahead of the competition which includes companies like Nokia and Ericsson, and this technological superiority comes at a cheaper price.

Over the weekend, Huawei announced a breakthrough in the design of 5G antennas. Called CableFree, the new design improves the capabilities of 5G base station antennas. With 5G, new bands have been introduced and more antenna connections are used. The new design improves high-band coverage for 5G. According to the company, “…high-band coverage is essential for ensuring 5G experience consistency. CableFree improves antenna radiation efficiency by approximately 20%, boosting high-quality coverage of the 5G era.”

Huawei reveals a breakthrough in 5G antenna design

To support the higher capacity and additional antenna connections used for 5G, the antennas deployed must be able to work with 1 KW of power; previous generations of wireless connectivity required only 500 to 600 Watts. CableFree increases the antenna power capacity by more than 80% to meet these requirements. CableFree also reduces the weight of the antennas making them easier to install. A six-band antenna using CableFree is over 22 pounds lighter and by keeping the weight of multi-band antennas under 110 pounds, a crane is not required during installation. This not only saves time, but it also saves money as well.

CableFree reduces the use of screws and soldering points by 80% reducing the chance of passive intermodulation, or signal distortion and interference caused by large metal objects. The reduction in the use of these components makes it easier to automate the production of antennas while keeping their quality consistent. Zhang Jiayi, President of Huawei Antenna Business Unit, said: “Antennas are crucial for 5G networks. Higher performance and integration are the main trends of antenna innovation in the 5G era. CableFree breaks the antenna design bottleneck, representing an inevitable trend of the antenna industry. Huawei always innovates based on customer requirements for 5G target networks to help customers build efficient and high-performance networks and achieve business success in the 5G era.”

Huawei says that CableFree “features a number of revolutionary technologies and techniques” that will increase the integration of an antenna improving its performance. CableFree has been used with Huawei’s Munich Pro, Golden Mini, and London Pro series antennas, as well as 32T32R Massive MIMO products. MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) allows for multiple signals to be simultaneously sent over the same radio channel. This creates extra data-carrying capacity allowing signals to be sent at faster data rates.

The bottom line is that Huawei says CableFree will help its customers build efficient and high-performance 5G networks to help their businesses succeed. While this all sounds promising, recently Huawei has had a slight set back. Conservative party members in the U.K. are asking for Huawei’s networking gear to be removed from 5G networks in the region due to national security threats. Reportedly, this would be done using a three-year plan that results in the removal of Huawei from 5G networks in the U.K. and all other networks by 2023. The Trump administration had been pressuring allies not to use the company’s gear in their 5G networks and while Japan and Australia heeded the warning, Germany and the U.K. originally did not. This past January the U.K. agreed to use Huawei’s parts for its 5G networks after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he felt that he had no choice. Originally, a U.K. spokesman said that Huawei’s parts would not be allowed near “sensitive functions.”

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