Smart Antennas Could Open Up New Spectrum For 5G

Future cellular networks could exploit the huge bandwidths available in millimeter-wave spectrum

12 min read
Smart Antennas Could Open Up New Spectrum For 5G
Illustration: Greg Mably

People in real estate joke that there are only three things that matter in the business of buying and selling property: location, location, location. The same could be said for radio spectrum. The frequencies used for cellular communications have acquired the status of waterfront lots—highly coveted and woefully scarce. And like beach-home buyers in a bidding war, mobile operators must constantly jockey for these prime parcels, sometimes shelling out as much as tens of billions of dollars for just a small sliver of the electromagnetic pie.

That’s because the cellular industry, throughout its four-decade existence, has relied exclusively on a strip of spectrum known as the ultrahigh frequency band, which comprises only about 1 percent of all regulated spectrum. Wireless engineers have long considered this frequency range—between 300 megahertz and 3 gigahertz—to be the “sweet spot” for mobile networking. Wavelengths here are short enough to allow for small antennas that can fit in handsets but still long enough to bend around or penetrate obstacles, such as buildings and foliage. Transmitted even at low power, these waves can travel reliably for up to several kilometers in just about any radio environment—be it in the heart of Tokyo or the farmlands of Iowa.

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Carbon-Removal Tech Grabs Elon Musk’s Check

Millions poured into XPrize effort to pull CO2 out of the sky

7 min read
A computer rendering showing Project Hajar sited in the Al Hajar mountains in Oman, capturing 1000 tons/year of CO2.

London’s Mission Zero Technologies has developed an energy-efficient way of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and sequestering it into the dominant rock (peridotites) of the upper part of the Earth’s mantle.

mission zero/44.01

Stretching across the northern coasts of Oman and the United Arab Emirates loom the vast jagged peaks of the Al Hajar mountains. The craggy outcrops are made mostly of a rock called peridotite, which absorbs carbon dioxide from the air and turns it into solid minerals. The mountains could store trillions of tonnes of human-made CO2 emissions, but the natural carbon-mineralization process works at a glacial pace.

London startup 44.01 has found a way to speed it up. For this endeavor, 44.01 is teaming up with another London startup, Mission Zero Technologies, which has developed an energy-efficient method to capture CO2 from air. Called Project Hajar, it plans to pull 1,000 tonnes of CO2/year from air at a demonstration facility in Oman, injecting some 3–4 tonnes/day into the peridotite rocks. A 120 tonne-capacity pilot plant will come online in the first half of 2023.

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What Is Wi-Fi 7?

Great capacity, less latency—here's how IEEE 802.11be achieves both

4 min read
A purple circle with the number 7 in the middle. Curved purple lines radiate out from the circle to the left and right.
Shutterstock

New generations of Wi-Fi have sprung onto the scene at a rapid pace in recent years. After a storied five-year presence, Wi-Fi 5 was usurped in 2019 by Wi-Fi 6, only for the latter to be toppled a year later in 2020 by an intermediate generation, Wi-Fi 6E. And now, just a couple years later, we’re on the verge of Wi-Fi 7.

Wi-Fi 7 (the official IEEE standard is 802.11be) may only give Wi-Fi 6 a scant few years in the spotlight, but it’s not just an upgrade for the sake of an upgrade. Several new technologies—and some that debuted in Wi-Fi 6E but haven’t entirely yet come into their own—will allow Wi-Fi 7 routers and devices to make full use of an entirely new band of spectrum at 6 gigahertz. This spectrum—first tapped into with Wi-Fi 6E—adds a third wireless band alongside the more familiar 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz bands.

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Modern System Level Design for Aerospace & Defense

Join this webinar series to learn the most important aspects of modern system-level design for RF and microwave applications in aerospace and defense

1 min read
Keysight
Keysight

More than ever, aerospace and defense companies must lower costs, accelerate their R&D, and reduce risk, all while simultaneously maintaining a high level of mission readiness. Register for this free webinar now!

Keysight is addressing these design challenges for RF and microwave applications, particularly for aerospace and defense applications.

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