4G v 5G wireless printed circuit board (PCB) challenges and opportunities

By Staff

With the dawn of 5G and the various associated 5G benefits manufacturers hope to achieve with broader bandwidth and less latency, brings changes in hardware associate with 5G networks.

4G wireless base station systems have a baseband unit, radio remote unit and an antenna. 4G baseband units and radio remote units connect by fiber optics, while radio remote units and antenna are joined by copper wire.

4G radio remote units then convert signals for analog frequency into digital, in addition to providing signal filtering and amplification. The 4G baseband unit is key for advanced digital processing.

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Meanwhile, to achieve the promises of 5G (enhanced broadband and lower latency), 5G baseband units are divided into centralize and distributed units.

5G then moves some functions for 5G baseband units to distributed units. This reduces fronthaul data bandwidth needs. Additionally, portions of core 5 network functions are positioned closer to end users to help reduce latency.

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5G is further supported by mobile edge computing facilities built alongside centralized broadband control units. Add to this, massive multiple-input, multiple-output (an extension of MIMO) technology targeting transmitters and receivers and grouping together antennas – to enhance throughput and spectrum efficiency.

4G v 5G Antennas and PCB demand

More base stations will need to be deployed for 5G compared to 4G usage. This is because 5G, although it has higher frequencies at a higher frequency spectrum, 5G has smaller coverage compared to 4G’s lower spectrum.

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