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5G and getting through low-E glass

February 6, 2018

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One of the biggest challenges for 5G fixed wireless access is bringing millimeter wave signals from the outdoors to the inside. The short wavelengths at those high frequencies mean that mmWave is very susceptible to being blocked or reflected by standard building materials, making it difficult to complete and sustain a link between a nearby mmWave tower and in-home customer premise equipment. Low emissivity or low-e glass, which has a thin coating to reflect energy from the inside and outside in order to reduce heat loss of the home, has a reputation as a notorious signal killer.

Semiconductor company MaxLinear and antenna developer AirGain have developed a way around — or more precisely, though — low-e glass for use in 5G mmWave systems. They have done a number of demos of their technology in the past year, with the most recent one achieving transfer rates of 2 Gbps through low-e glass.

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