Docomo, Metawave demo meta-structure technology for 5G

Japan's NTT Docomo has completed a joint 5G demonstration in collaboration with Metawave Corporation involving the use of a world-first meta-structure reflect-array technology.

According to the companies, meta-structures are an artificial medium with optical characteristics developed by arranging structures that are sufficiently small with respect to wavelength in the form of an array.

The reflector developed by Metawave uses very small structures arranged across the array to have different shapes based on their position within the array. The technology is capable of being installed on walls of buildings to directly reflect waves in specific directions.

During the 5G demonstration over the 28-GHz frequency band, the technology was used to achieve speeds of 560Mbps with Metawave’s meta-structures reflect-array in place, compared to 60 Mbps with no reflector.

The trial involved covering a 5G area at the foot of a building, improving transmission quality in an area where 5G data communication was previously impossible. The demonstration achieved a 5G range extension of about 35 meters.

The telecoms industry will need to develop techniques to expand the coverage area of the high frequency bands of 5G outside of the line of sight of the base station antenna, and reflectors are one such technique being tested.

Metawave says its solution is superior to the metallic reflectors that have been tested due to the difficulty of installing metallic plates in the direction of the incident angle of radio waves in cities.

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