Gartner, Inc. forecasts that the 6.4 billion wirelessly connected things reported in use worldwide in 2016, will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. And there's no question of an increased need for better, faster communication and connectivity between people, devices, and systems, ranging from smartphones to watches to entire home systems. In order to pipe in enough bandwidth for this precious wireless feed, there just aren’t enough existing frequencies—that’s where 5G comes in.
Whenever a new mobile wireless frequency comes along such as 5G, a higher radio frequency is assigned to it. This is to ensure that information can move at a faster speed without any disruptions. The problem is that higher frequency signals don’t travel as far as lower frequencies, so multiple input and output antennas (MIMOs) may have to be used to boost signals anywhere 5G is offered. Radar and advanced communications operating at higher frequencies into Ka-band, will be requiring even greater amounts of sophisticated signal chain designs, and size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) challenges will be pervasive.
A singular unifying frequency for 5G is not yet established, but several key bands have already been allocated for testing; many of which are in the Ka-band and above frequency ranges. Traditional circulators at these higher frequencies are impractical due to their large physical size, and many system engineers are struggling to find alternative solutions for their receivers. Metamagnetics’ self-biased circulators and isolators are becoming important players in 5G thanks to their revolutionary size reduction technology, ensuring maximum performance at 1/10th the size of a traditional microstrip permanent magnet RF/microwave circulator. Composed of advanced proprietary materials, which do not require biasing magnets, self-biased circulators are ideal for weight, size and cost constrained systems. Other applications include high frequency WiFi, millimerer-wave communications, and other SWaP-C constrained RF systems.