The global smart antenna market is projected to expand remarkably in the coming few years. According to Transparency Market Research (TMR), the global smart antenna market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 8.5% during the forecast period from 2015 to 2023. In 2014, the global smart antenna market was estimated at US$14.72 bn and by 2023, the market is estimated to be worth US$30.12 bn.
Several factors will drive the global smart antenna market; these include: the rising demand for smart antennas in wireless communication and the growing application of smart antennas in smart phones. Besides these trends, the global smart antenna market is also expected to benefit from its use in 5G technology. Ongoing research points towards the use of smart, smaller antennas, which could play a crucial role in the development of 5G technology.
5G Technology and Role of Smart Antennas
4G technology is an IP-based technology, providing data up to 1 Gbps. 5G is expected to offer significant gains as compared to previous systems. The peak data rate of 5G is 10 Gbps and a network capacity 10,000 times more than that of the current network.
Many industry experts agree that the 5G technology will arrive by the end of this decade. Hence, new network operators will need additional spectrum. Operators can invest in more radio spectrum or install more cell sites to meet the demand for wireless broadband data. In such a scenario, smarter antenna systems will help enhance network performance and capacity beyond what has been achieved with today’s standard 2x2 and 4x4 MIMO deployments observed in 4G LTE.
Deployment of Smart Antennas in 5G Research
There are several novel techniques and technologies that are being experimented with for creating a 5G cellular system. These include pervasive networks, cognitive radio technology, group cooperative relay, wireless mesh networking, and smart antennas. By using smart antennas to deploy the 5G cellular system in the future, it will be possible to alter beam direction and provide more direct communications as well as limit interference and improve overall cell capacity. Many of these new technologies and techniques for 5G are still being developed and their standards are yet to be defined.
Qualcomm’s Experiment with Smart Antennas
Recently, Qualcomm demonstrated tiny smart antennas with a 27 db gain, which is approximately 10-12 db higher than conventional cellular base station antennas. This higher capacity puts ten times more signal power on a mobile as compared to a legacy cellular antenna. This focused approach is projected to drive the development of 5G technology instead of using several antennas to boost signal power.
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These experiments show that smart antenna will form a key component of the upcoming 5G network. This trend is expected to drive the global smart antenna market significantly in the foreseeable future.