Milimeter wave technology to answer demands of 21st century

A millimeter wave scanner is a whole-body imaging device used for detecting objects concealed underneath a person's clothing using a form of electromagnetic radiation - image courtesy of DFC.
One of the most recognisable current uses of millimeter wave technology is the airport security whole-body imaging device used for detecting objects concealed underneath a person's clothing - image courtesy of DFC.

In a 21st century world where the proliferation of smart devices and the rising significance of interconnectivity has intensified the demand for high-speed data connectivity, high-resolution data transfer and cost-efficient data security, a technology exists that can meet the demands of an ever growing communications-based society.

Millimeter wave (MMW) is a mature technology that has recently been adopted for exploring different applications across many industries.

MMW technology can address the demands of the communication sector by offering multi-gigabit capacity, reduction in cost in comparison with existing radio waves and long distance connectivity.

Other sectors expected to adopt MMW technology include automotive and transportation; aerospace and defence; industrial; healthcare, and commercial security.

Recognising the widespread impact MMW technology will have on 21st century society, government agencies throughout the world are actively funding R&D in the fields of aerospace and defence, while consumer electronics and network carrier original equipment manufacturers are eagerly adopting the technology to enrich the capabilities of existing applications.

New analysis from global consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, Millimeter Wave Tecnology: Impact in Key Applications, finds that the telecommunication industry and a number of others will develop MMW-based applications which will have a huge impact in the next five to six years.

The analysis found that MMW technology is expected to impact multiple industries and promises to have a very optimistic scenario for the industries which implement it.

Frost & Sullivan Technical Insights research analyst, Jabez Mendelson,said MMW technology would be an ideal complement for current wireless communications.

“MMW will find significant application in complementing the usage of the higher frequency spectrum in wireless communications,” he said.

“The high frequency of MMW’s would enable the creation of small-sized antennas and multiple-element phased arrays on a substrate chip, furthermore it would also aid in the design and development of compact MMW equipment.”

While the advantages of MMW technology are significant, like a number of technologies it also has certain technical deficiencies.

MMW are susceptible to rain fade (60 GHz and 70/80 GHz), wherein the heavy oxygen absorption in the atmosphere at 60 GHz limits the distance of signal transmission.

Despite various vendors claiming to have minimized rain fade, no MMW technology has effectively addressed this issue.

Its technical deficiencies notwithstanding, MMW technology certainly has the potential to benefit a number of industries and companies which Mendelson said would only grow in time.

“Overall, with superior technology sophistication, the number of applications that can benefit from MMW will multiply, as will the business models and end-user markets,” he added.

MMW technology is predicted to have the most impact in the telecommunications industry, because there is more spectrum available for usage in the MMW bands than in the wave bands currently used for mobile communications.

The MMW technology would have many benefits in this sector, including improving the accuracy and proximity of sensors in wireless sensor networks, and the greater precision of radar systems which would boost satellite communication.