Tech + Engineering


Prototype 5G Wireless Tranceiver Promises Gigabit Speeds

Samsung has developed a new wireless technology that could increase data speeds by an order of magnitude or more—up to tens of gigabits at short range. David Talbot describes the approach for Technology Review:

The Samsung technology relies on 28-gigahertz frequencies, which can carry commensurately more data but can be blocked by buildings, people, foliage, and even rainfall. Samsung says it has greatly mitigated these problems by sending data over as many as 64 streams from 64 antennas, dynamically shaping how the signal is divided up, and even controlling the direction in which it is sent, making changes in tens of nanoseconds in response to changing conditions (among other features, it can catch stray reflections of signals that had bounced off an obstruction). The company did not grant an interview request, but the technology is described in this 2010 patent filing.

Today’s cellular networks rely on frequencies between 700 MHz and 2.6 GHz, depending on which country you live in and which carrier you use. Lower frequencies tend to penetrate solid objects—like buildings—more readily than higher frequencies, making them more usable for long-range wireless communications. It remains to be seen if Samsung’s workaround will solve the problems of sending data over high frequencies, but if they do, our future could be soaked with even more data.