Transformations in 5G Materials Create New Growth Opportunities
Low-loss materials are key to meeting the future growth potential of 5G network infrastructure applications
5G networks, characterized by Ultra-high speed internet connectivity, low-latency and improved reliability also entail relatively higher signal losses as compared to previous generation networks, thereby limiting the maximum distance travelled by the waves. Furthermore, high frequency waves are also limited by their ability to penetrate through hard surfaces/materials. Thus, unlike earlier generations, 5G infrastructure entails a denser network composed of both macro and small cells or base stations. Furthermore, materials necessary for 5G applications are expected to be significantly different from those used in conventional or previous generation network infrastructure.
Frost & Sullivan’s study titled “Global 5G Materials Growth Opportunities” quantifies the consumption of key materials for 5G network infrastructure (macro and micro base stations) applications namely PCB substrate materials (resins), radome materials, and cable materials and further gauges the level of impact that market developments are expected to have on the demand for individual materials over the seven year period, between 2020 and 2027.
The highly anticipated commercialization of 5G finally materialized in 2019, and several countries, including the United States, South Korea, and China, led from the front. The spike in new infrastructure investments, especially in China, will propel the demand for 5G equipment and materials, thereby resulting in a wave of optimism in an otherwise capital-intensive, competitive, and low-margin telecommunications infrastructure equipment industry. To accommodate the exponential growth in mobile data traffic, it is imperative to shift to 5G networks as it is impossible to effectively cater to the unprecedented increase in data traffic through the expansion of existing infrastructure. 5G networks are characterized by ultra-high-speed Internet connectivity, low latency, and improved reliability. However, high frequencies are characterized by a high number of cycles/waves per unit time and entail larger signal losses, thereby limiting the maximum distance traveled by the waves. In addition, high-frequency waves are limited by their ability to penetrate hard surfaces/materials. Thus, unlike earlier generations, 5G infrastructure entails denser networks comprising both macro and small cells or base stations. Accordingly, the materials necessary for 5G applications will be significantly different from those used in conventional or previous-generation network infrastructures.
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