Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) 5G laptop prototype that was launched recently during the Mobile World Congress has revealed some key challenges on its millimeter wave (mmWave) antenna design. Though engineers had predicted the potential problems with the mmWave spectrum, the recent event enabled them to realize the key areas that need to be addressed.
The company had earlier announced the plans to launch the 5G laptops by 2019 and it’s currently working with other tech companies including Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Microsoft to develop a high-speed notebook that is powered by its fastest 5G modem.
Intel’s 5G Internet can operate on the sub-6GHz and mmWave spectrum bands hence enabling super-fast connection speeds on almost everything from smartphone to driveless vehicles.
While mmWave are known for its super-fast data speed on the 5G connections, their high-frequency radio signals can easily block thus requiring the device to have extra external antennas. Since additional antennas are required to power the 5G multi-input and multi-output (MIMO) transmissions, it’s difficult to huddle the mmWave antennas in the interior edges of the device.
Though Intel’s first 5G laptop prototype concentrated on the front-look, and the back, it contains two large stands with antennas to help the device reduce the obstruction of the mmWave signals that are obtained from the nearest base station.
The key challenge of the mmWave antenna spectrum is not only for Intel alone, other global companies such as Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei and others are all facing the same engineering challenges. Apple has however refused to include the external mmWave antennas stands onto its products.
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According to Apple, unless the mmWave antennas are incorporated in the interior designs of the laptops, it’s quite difficult for the spectrum to support the larger 5G gadgets such as the home broadband modems, laptops, and standalone hotspots. Majority of the 5G laptops and smartphones rely on the midband frequencies within a defined range of 3.5-6GHz.