How mmWave Technology Will Transform Private Networks
Nearly all private 5G cellular network deployments to date have been in low-band frequencies, less than 1 Ghz, or mid-band frequencies, between 1 and 6 Ghz. There have been very few deployments of high-band frequencies above 20 Ghz, which are also known as millimeter wave technology, or mmWave.
That’s despite the fact that, in many ways, mmWave technology is a higher capacity extension of 5G.
MmWave technology offers more advantages for specific use cases where extremely high bandwidth and low latency are critical.
For example, mmWave could be used by autonomous vehicle fleets to transmit real-time updates on their location and status to each other. This could help improve safety and reduce the risk of collisions. Additionally, high-band mmWave frequencies could also be used in industrial settings to enable faster, more reliable communication between robots and sensors. This could help to improve the efficiency of production lines and allows for the creation of smarter factories.
More Private 5G mmWave Technology Deployments
However, there is a shift happening in the market.
More private 5G mmWave deployments are taking place, owing to several factors:
mmWave Technology Deployment Challenges
However, mmWave poses numerous technical challenges for network deployment, with significant upfront costs, even over standard 5G. As such, design considerations are even more crucial for enterprises looking at private mmWave network deployments.
To help address these challenges, the FCC allocated spectrum in the 24.25-30 GHz range to enable new 5G and mmWave services in the US. This allocation of mid-band spectrum allows for wider coverage areas and lower latency than mmWave spectrum, which is typically limited to short-range, line-of-sight deployments. This spectrum greatly improved the availability and affordability of mmWave services, allowing for a broader range of use cases, including for private networks.
Enterprises must fully address the complexity of a network environment and the technical challenges it may present to a mmWave network to ensure ROI on these investments.
Self-Contained and Highly Intensive Environments Are Best Candidates for mmWave
Data-intensive use cases, particularly in open industrial settings, are some of the best candidates for private 5G mmWave networks.
This is because these use cases have the high-bandwidth and low-latency requirements necessary to justify a mmWave network. Large industrial settings provide the ideal functional environment in which to deploy it.
The industrial setting also provides the necessary physical infrastructure for a private mmWave network. The large area, along with the metal and concrete structures, provide the self-contained environment that is necessary for a successful deployment. The physical environment provides a reliable, robust mmWave signal that can be maintained even in the face of interference from other wireless signals. The large area allows for a highly intensive network that can provide faster speeds and lower latency than other types of wireless networks.
The environment also needs to be self-contained and highly intensive to maximize the benefits of mmWave networking. mmWave requires the environment to be free of external interference sources, such as other radio signals, which can interfere with the mmWave signal.
The environment also needs to be dense enough for the 5G signal to be able to propagate between multiple nodes. This density makes sure that the 5G signal can reach its full potential and provide the best possible experience for users.
As technologies like IoT and AI become more commonplace in these settings, mmWave will become increasingly more relevant because of the key advantages it delivers over 4G/LTE.
Use Cases for mmWave Technology
In general, mmWave technology is a viable option in self-contained environments where:
In many cases, mmWave deployment is not necessary to enable a given use case. However, mmWave can often better address the specific pain points of particular use cases, making it a better option.
Empowering AI and IoT
For example, mmWave’s greatest strengths are its ability to support an arbitrary number of sensors or devices, and throughput essentially an arbitrary amount of data with minimal latency. This makes it extremely well-suited for AI and IoT use cases that need high throughput and low latency to make maximum use of these technologies.
MMWave’s superior performance also enables more complex applications, such as autonomous vehicles, which rely on a high degree of connectivity and responsiveness. It can also be leveraged to enable dynamic, intelligent networks that can learn and respond to changing situations and environments. MMWave can provide more secure connections, reducing the risk of data breaches and other malicious activities. MMWave is a superior option for many applications, especially those that require high throughput, low latency, and secure connections.
Enabling Real-Time Security Monitoring
However, mmWave presents difficult design considerations. Its signal is low-range and is easily blocked by any kind of obstruction. This is why controllable environments are of such importance in mmWave deployments. In highly dynamic settings, the high throughput of mmWave can become extremely difficult, if not impossible, to maintain consistently.
Security cameras are another excellent example of where mmWave can shine. As the cameras are static, obstructions are rarely, if ever, a concern. And mmWave can easily stream high-quality video with low enough latency for real-time monitoring and analysis — a crucial factor in security.
MMWave is also ideal for short-range bandwidth applications, such as backhaul for access points, where operators need to send large amounts of data quickly and reliably. MMWave is able to transmit data faster than sub-6 GHz frequencies and can facilitate a more consistent and reliable connection to access points. Furthermore, the small wavelength size of mmWave allows for the use of smaller antennas, which can then be made even more discreet, particularly useful when deploying access points in public places.
iBwave Simplifies Design and Deployment
While it’s important to identify the right use case when considering deployment of a private mmWave network, enterprises also need to ensure their network design lets them take advantage of mmWave’s strengths.
iBwave’s survey and design software is optimized to address the complexity of mmWave network design and presents easy-to-use and easy-to-understand interfaces that simplify the design process. Network designers can easily and efficiently design accurate networks, avoiding the risk of both overdesign and under design.
With iBwave Private Networks, designers can:
iBwave Private Networks delivers the simplest and most reliable solution for planning, designing, and delivering private, high-performance, mmWave networks.
Advanced and powerful features such as the Fast Ray Tracing Prediction Engine, Prediction Calibration, Inclined Surface Modeling, and Attenuation by Frequency ensure the network you design functions exactly as intended.
The Fast Ray Tracing Prediction Engine allows users to quickly design, simulate and visualize the complete coverage of a mmWave network and provide users with the insights they need to make informed decisions.
With Prediction Calibration, users have the ability to compare the simulation results to survey results, allowing them to ensure their design is accurate and reliable.
The Inclined Surface Modeling feature ensures that the propagation of the signal is accurate for surfaces that are not perfectly flat.
Attenuation by Frequency allows users to simulate the frequency-dependent signal attenuation, ensuring the accuracy of the predictions.
Plus, cloud-connectivity and seamless integration with iBwave Mobile Survey ensures that iBwave can meet all your mmWave network needs, present and future.
Overall, the features of iBwave make it the perfect tool for designing and deploying mmWave networks. The powerful simulation capabilities, seamless integration with iB and cloud-connectivity make it an invaluable asset for all mmWave network designers.
For more information, take a look at the full product breakdown of iBwave Private Networks.
And for more insights into the growing demand for private 5G networks, download our latest e-book: Top Trends in Private Networks for 2023.
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