SAN JOSE, Calif. – Regulators need to deliver guidance as soon as possible for millimeter wave services in 5G cellular networks, said one of the many engineers with designs waiting for the details. His call comes as carriers in the U.S. and South Korea are gearing up to deliver the broadband wireless services for mobile and home workers.
Specifically, engineers need to know what limits regulators will set on channel allocations, out-of-band spurious emissions and other “nuts and bolts of channel bandwidth,” said Ian Gresham, a technology Fellow at mmwave specialist Anokiwave.
“Strict limits could restrict what we can do, so [delivering detailed regulations is] critical and has to happen in a short period to make sure there’s not a hiccough in deployment,” said Gresham, who has spent 30 years in the field. “We’ve seen ongoing submissions and discussions with the FCC and others about what those limits should be but until there’s a ruling, it’s open for interpretation."
The regulations will determine whether incidental radiation is “problematic or can be ignored and what level of performance we can achieve,” Gresham added.
At this stage the rules may not dramatically affect chip designs. They are more likely to impact board-level design decisions, Gresham said. Asked when he needs to see such rules to meet commitments for his customers, he said, “It can’t be too soon.”
Verizon has announced it will roll out fixed wireless services over mmwave bands later this year, and rival AT&T said it is interested in similar services. Carriers in South Korea aim to conduct high profile demos of 5G services for the Winter Olympics that start there in early February, including enhanced broadband mobile over mmwaves.
For its part, Anokiwave launched a CMOS chip to implement 28 GHz radios last year and followed up this year with one for 39 GHz links.
“We’re already working on third-generation designs that are more capable and feature rich. Our 64-element array was a fast prototype platform for customers to get up the learning curve,” Gresham said.
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