5G Antenna Design for Mobile Phones

For more in-depth information and expert advice, please visit the SIMULIA Community for a variety of resources about 5G, antennas, phone design and more. This particular post on the SIMULIA Community is a great place to start. 

Looking for everything CST Studio Suite? Start here.

Looking for everything Antenna Magus? Start here.

Also check out our, 5G mm-Wave Compatible Phone Cover Design paper on our website.


5G is upon us. The promise of higher speed for high data rate communication and lower latency for real-time interaction is alluring for users. This combination will not only provide for new video formats like 360 degree video (video traffic is expected to account for 73% of all mobile data traffic by 2023), but also enable new technologies such as autonomous driving, augmented or virtual reality interaction, and a tactile internet with applications in fields ranging from industry automation and transport systems to healthcare, education and gaming.

Antenna design for mobile phones has always been a challenging topic for engineers, and designing antennas to support the new 5G frequency bands will raise the bar further. Two frequency ranges are of most interest: frequency range 1 for sub 6 GHz bands communication and frequency range 2 for communication at the millimeter (mm) wave frequencies above 24 GHz. Some of the bands are still under discussion, and the exact frequency designations will vary geographically. Initial phone integration has focused on sub 6 GHz antennas, and millions of subscribers around the world already have 5G mobile phone contracts. mm-Wave support has initially been used for providing broadband links to homes or other fixed infrastructure, but is gradually finding its way into mobile phones too.

Design Challenges

Simulation plays a fundamental role in designing antennas in general, and especially for designing the highly customized, individually tailored, antennas found in compact mobile devices. The challenges in the two frequency ranges are different, though.

Sub 6 GHz Antennas

Sub 6 GHz antennas have to be designed in the context of the compact mobile phone, fitting in to whatever space is available among all the other components which are densely packed into the form factor specified by the design team. Of course it is not only 5G capable antennas that are required. 5G will be used alongside existing 4G, 3G and Wi-Fi communication channels. This increases the number of antennas to be integrated in the phone, especially since most of these standards also include support for Massive Input Massive Output (MIMO) multi-antenna operation. Even if individual elements can cater for different standards simultaneously, there will still be a requirement for housing at least half a dozen antennas.

Finding space for antennas in a densely packed compact phone is difficult.
Finding space for antennas in a densely packed compact phone is difficult.

The antennas don’t only function as standalone “antennas” in the traditional sense, but there is a strong interaction with the rest of phone. Understanding the resonant behavior of the phone is important since the antenna to couple energy into natural phone resonances. These are strongly dependent on the exact configuration of the internal structure, which can change over design cycles. It is thus crucial to design the antenna in the context of the full phone, with materials, components and connections between them modelled with sufficient fidelity.

Coupling to phone resonances is strongly dependent on antenna position.
Coupling to phone resonances is strongly dependent on antenna position.

Optimal placement of the antennas in the phone, and also relative to each other, is critical to their performance. Positioning changes of a few millimeters will make the difference between a well and poorly performing system. Antenna engineers must be able to respond quickly to design changes. Immediate access to design change descriptions, an efficient workflow for simulation model setup, and of course efficient simulation algorithms, are all extremely important if good antenna designs are to be achieved within the tight time constraints of a short device design cycle.

Learn more: Watch the on-demand eSeminar, 5G Antenna Design for Mobile Phones

mm-Wave Antennas

The increasing demand in mobile data traffic will require mm-wave communication to complement sub 6 GHz massive MIMO. Research into mm-wave antenna integration in mobile devices is well under way. The small physical size of antennas at or above 28 GHz makes the use of chip-integrated arrays – often containing four elements – an interesting option. These antennas have a high gain and support multiple beams, thus addressing the design goals of providing a high quality data link in all directions around the phone.

Placing a chip antenna behind a plastic cover substantially changes its radiating performance.
Placing a chip antenna behind a plastic cover substantially changes its radiating performance.
Radiation from antenna behind 2 mm thick ABS plastic cover.
Radiation from antenna behind 2 mm thick ABS plastic cover.

The antenna design in this case is not as tightly coupled to the overall phone structure as at lower frequencies. Rather, the challenge becomes one of integrating the antenna in the device behind a cover, which at mm-wave frequencies is no longer electrically thin and thus has a substantial effect on the radiating performance of the antenna. Techniques used for radome design in the aerospace industry find application here. Antennas can be efficiently integrated behind plastic or glass covers by engineering the cover geometry to act locally as a lens, and even behind metal covers by including electromagnetic windows, perhaps based on Frequency Selective Surfaces (FSS) design principles. This approach improves the radiation pattern substantially and improves scanning behavior. Another option made possible by the small physical size of antennas at mm-wave frequencies is the integration of slot-based designs in the metal rim of phone, as shown in Figure 2.

Chip (top and bottom) and slot (sides) array antennas placed in a phone with metal housing.
Chip (top and bottom) and slot (sides) array antennas placed in a phone with metal housing.

Balancing performance and safety

For any equipment that is used in the immediate vicinity of a person, ensuring the safety of the user is of paramount importance. Certification standards for exposure of humans to radiated fields have to be met before a product can be released onto the market. At sub 6 GHz frequencies, the existing Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) standards apply. At mm-wave frequencies, field penetration into the human body is very small. Most of the energy is reflected, and most of the field that does enter the body dissipates within 3 mm of the surface, so SAR is not an appropriate measure of human exposure. Rather, it is proposed to measure the power flow on surfaces at a certain distance from the device.

Standard SAR evaluations can be used at sub 6 GHz frequencies, while poor field penetration at mm-wave frequencies makes power flow evaluations more appropriate.
Standard SAR evaluations can be used at sub 6 GHz frequencies, while poor field penetration at mm-wave frequencies makes power flow evaluations more appropriate.

Conclusion

5G communication is improving the mobile communication experience of users around the world. Efficient high performance antennas are key enablers for ensuring a fast continuous communication link. Balancing performance and safety compliance requires accurate modeling and simulation of the antennas, the phone and even the user, not only electromagnetically but across physical disciplines.


SIMULIA offers an advanced simulation product portfolio, including AbaqusIsightfe-safeToscaSimpoe-MoldSIMPACK, CST Studio Suite, XFlow, PowerFLOW and more. The SIMULIA Learning Community is the place to find the latest resources for SIMULIA software and to collaborate with other users. The key that unlocks the door of innovative thinking and knowledge building, the SIMULIA Learning Community provides you with the tools you need to expand your knowledge, whenever and wherever.

Marc Rütschlin

Marc Rütschlin is a SIMULIA R&D Roles Portfolio Engineering Director, working on the technical formulation, positioning and marketing of microwave and high frequency related electromagnetic simulation solutions in the High-Tech and other industries. Prior to his current role, Marc worked for CST as a Principal Engineer, global Market Development Manager (MW&RF) and Industry Development Manager (High Tech). He joined CST in 2007 after completing his PhD in Electronic Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, and post-doctoral studies at NIST in Boulder, Colorado, and at the University of Karlsruhe in Germany, working on electromagnetic wave propagation in buildings and small antenna design respectively.

25 Responses to “5G Antenna Design for Mobile Phones”

  1. aminehedfi@gmail.com'

    Amine

    Thank you very match for your informations, your article helped me in my PhD.research. Actually i’m working on design antenna (compact antenna) using metamaterials (MTM) to acheave frequencies bands of the 5G network. So, i need to apply or integrated the technology “Radio frequency microelectronic systeme” RF-MEMS on MTM to acheave frequencies bands’5G network. It’s pleasure for me to share with you my researche’s results in order to get perfect results.
    Best regards,

    Reply
    • jontysam15@students.vnit.ac.in'

      sss

      Sir , would suggest us a new design in antenna designing for 5g(>24ghz) applications using metamaterials

      Reply
  2. abdeta71@gmail.com'

    Abdulaziz

    I found your article very much informative and aligned with my Ph.D. research work,” Design and Analysis of MIMO Antenna for 5G Applications”.
    I hope you will be open to comment on my concerns while progressing in the research work.
    Thank you, Sir.

    Reply
  3. chuchenge@qq.com'

    peka chu

    hello, thanks for your wonderful information,I have one question,where can I get the realistic phone model and try my antenna design?

    Reply
  4. camiclark1978@gmail.com'

    cami clark

    I have read your blog its really good.

    Reply
  5. Badget74588@hotmail.com'

    Jamel Gjesdal

    Wonderful article, well-explained. With the emergence of 5G and new technology like embedded sim(esim), purchasing and utilizing data plans have become revolutionized, eliminating the need to turn up in person at mobile stores to purchase data plans. For a quick intro, eSIM is an embedded SIM chip built into recent phones, enabling consumers to get mobile services digitally. Esims have also paved way for a pay-as-you-go business model, where service providers offer highly customizable plans, and customers cut down a lot on expenditures and save huge amounts of money. eSIM-enabled consumer devices are on track to exceed 250 million by the end of 2019 and are expected to expand beyond flagship devices to reach 1 billion within 2 years. It is indeed fascinating to see the developments in technology, which leads the way to new innovation and advancements.

    Reply
  6. vanshika@celitech.com'

    Vanshika Sridharan

    Very informative article! Thank you 🙂

    Reply
  7. localcoabudhabi@gmail.com'

    best barber abu dhabi

    Thanks for this great post, loved reading your post

    Reply
  8. electra.abudhabi1@gmail.com'

    Daniel

    I really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. I feel strongly that love and read more on this topic. I have spent a lot of my spare time reading your content. Thank you a lot.

    Reply
  9. solutionsmiot473@gmail.com'

    Miot Wireless Solutions

    5G technology is growing at the speed of light. 5G is being designed to meet the very large growth in data and connectivity of today’s modern society, the internet of things with billions of connected devices, and tomorrow’s innovations. 5G networks need to handle a variety of traffic types, including enhanced mobile broadband, massive machine communication, and low-latency, high-reliability applications, boast of faster data rates, increased bandwidth, and higher capacity coupled with significantly lower latency greater in the present 4G networks. Greater bandwidth allows the devices to communicate with each other at a faster rate. Mobile network operators expect their subscribers’ 5G mobile experience to be amazingly fast and unfailingly reliable. New 5G network access equipment delivers broader bandwidths, higher frequencies, lower latencies, and enables machine-to-machine communication necessary for a massively connected Internet of Things (IoT). Miot Solutions committed to designing and manufacturing high-quality 5G antennas to meet the various needs of customers. With our experience, Miot Solutions is ready to help Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) deliver on the promise of 5G. To learn more Miot Wireless Solutions visit http://www.miotsolutions.com

    Reply
  10. kuhusami@gmail.com'

    Kuhu Sami

    Thank you for sharing this piece of blog. I was very confused not knowing the concepts before.

    Reply
  11. dummytest595@gmail.com'

    Electronics Supplier

    It is an interesting post!

    Reply
  12. webcomfo@gmail.com'

    ame

    Thanks for sharing great infotmation.

    Reply
  13. boundlesss.store09@gmail.com'

    Douglas F. Kinder

    Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and beginning another activity in a network in a similar specialty. Your blog gave us valuable data to chip away at. You have worked superbly.

    Reply
  14. boundlesss.store09@gmail.com'

    Greg M. Cameron

    Writer, one more incredible worth put together article based with respect to research, and I think all the tips are the aftereffect of learning through experience, that is the reason they are such a great amount of important for the perusers.

    Reply
  15. aneesshah47@gmail.com'

    Anees shah

    Does 5g already exist? The answer is Yes, 5G exists and it is revolutionary, but it is still not that popular.

    The 5G technology is already a reality in many countries of the world, however, in many countries, the deployment is still in the testing phase.

    Reply
  16. avneetkaur.dmp@gmail.com'

    avneet kaur

    nice and informative blog…….

    Reply
  17. avneetkaur.dmp@gmail.com'

    avneet kaur

    very nice and informative blog ……..very interesting

    Reply
  18. avneetkaur.dmp@gmail.com'

    avneet kaur

    found this blog very interesting and informative👍👍👍

    Reply
  19. aryanok533@gmail.com'

    aryan

    Nice to see your blog, it has good information

    Reply
  20. avneetkaur.dmp@gmail.com'

    avneet kaur

    nice and informative blog!!

    Reply
  21. m.valenzuelaaguilera@gmail.com'

    Manfred

    Gran trabajo estimado hermano.

    Reply
  22. buenviajelorie9@gmail.com'

    Lorie Buenviaje

    thanks for sharing this knowledge about antenna! is it similar to the antenna used on television?

    Reply
  23. minahilmalik114@gmail.com'

    minahil malik

    it was amazing blog and very infomative site for us thanks for sharing this type of blog

    Reply
  24. minahilmalik114@gmail.com'

    minahil malik

    when they used 5G Antenna they will satisfied with that and it was really amazing blog and very helpfull for us

    Reply

Leave a Reply