The 5G Puzzle—Bringing the Pieces Together for Unparalleled Innovations

5G technology drives various components and their respective functions to connect in ways that display a captivating picture of innovation. The roles and capacities of these components fit together for optimal design and functionality. As a result, the opportunity for 5G growth is abundant. The following is an overview of several Molex blogs that focus on 5G infrastructure as well as the design optimization and testing capabilities that are necessary for 5G success.

As the world around us continues to rely on digital communications more and more each day, technological innovations and critical upgrades are in progress to help ensure network infrastructure and mobile devices are ready. A big boost in speed and responsiveness is just the tip of the iceberg for 5G as the next-generation cellular technology is being rolled out now.

Industries, including consumer electronics, automotive, industrial and medical, will all benefit from 5G technology and drive much of the demand. Implementation will not happen overnight. It will occur, instead, in phases over several years, and 5G infrastructure will layer on top of the existing 4G infrastructure.

To successfully transition to 5G, the existing wireless networks, including hardware technology and network architecture, are all being modernized. Carriers and service providers that are in the process of deploying 5G technology are redesigning their networks, converting switches, and upgrading and deploying new cell sites. It is estimated that up to 10 times the number of existing 4G cell sites will be necessary to support a 5G rollout. As carriers continue to expand 5G coverage into more cities, new devices compatible with multiple networks will also be introduced.

Preparing a Solid Foundation

The deployment of high-speed, low-latency 5G infrastructure is well underway across the globe, but it is also multifaceted. It requires the addition of many cell towers, as well as a virtualization of the 5G network. This also includes the addition of many microsites and other means of extending ultra-high-frequency 5G networking in and around buildings.

While the higher frequencies used by 5G enhance connection capabilities, they also present challenges. High-frequency signals are more susceptible to being blocked by objects such as buildings and landscapes, and even people. The use of micro-cells, repeaters and transmission technologies such as beamforming and beam-steering help strengthen the signal. These solutions can be built into internet-connected devices to enhance their network connection.

From a technological perspective, 5G represents a revolutionary upgrade. Its rollout will be diverse as carriers build their networks with different spectrums, which will vary in reach, latency and data-carrying capabilities. As highlighted in The 5G Growth Trajectory Molex blog article, the optimization of antennas, power transmission and other connector components will drive the extensive, rapid adoption of 5G technology and change the way manufacturers approach the design process.

Enabling Enhanced Connectivity

As discussed in the Molex blog article Designing for the Future of 5G, device manufacturers are designing products that will take full advantage of this new capability — every 5G-enabled device requires redesigned and highly optimized antennas to support the new frequencies. New materials, design concepts and manufacturing technologies are critical success factors for the continued adoption and implementation of 5G technology. Thoughtful device design and the use of 5G-optimized components will seamlessly bring together all the new use cases emerging under the umbrella of 5G categories, including enhanced mobile broadband (EMBB), ultra-reliable and low latency (URLL), and massive machine-type communication (mMTC).

The Important Role of Testing

Organizations making 5G components also require state-of-the-art testing capabilities to measure beamforming capabilities, radiation emissions, high-gain antennas, low-loss and high-frequency connectors and more. As highlighted in third article of the Molex 5G blog series, 5G Testing Technologies—Precision and Optimization Realized, most 5G components need to be initially developed through simulation because even tenths of a millimeter in size can cause dramatic changes in performance. There are a wide variety of test chambers, but mmWave testing systems should have ultra-high precision positioners to assess the wide range of frequencies present in 5G applications as well as the slightest changes in radiation output.

While suppliers such as Molex have been designing antennas and micro connectors for decades, design, testing and manufacturing approaches have pivoted to optimize new components for 5G applications. Seeing the growing need for 5G testing, Molex is an early investor of 5G in-house testing equipment and expertise. A combination of robust testing systems, streamlined design processes, long-standing expertise and in-house collaboration are a must for the successful development of cutting-edge 5G components.

Moving 5G Forward with Molex

Building on decades of innovation and expertise in the telecom and datacom industries, Molex develops disruptive technologies and leads in setting the connectivity standards that drive the industry forward. In the recent white paper, 5G Mobile Technology–More Devices, Speed and Mobility, Molex experts outline many of the challenges manufacturers will face related to 5G infrastructure and device design as well as how to address those challenges.

Molex is fully invested in 5G research and development and utilizes newer and higher-frequency testing chambers. We offer both product design and system manufacturing expertise that enable design engineers to create 5G products suitable for mass production. As an important player in the 5G ecosystem, Molex has the necessary expertise in high-speed connectivity and signal integrity management, as well as radio frequency (RF) technology. The combination of Molex’s knowledge of RF antennas, micro connectors and signal integrity generates innovative solutions that support industry-leading 5G mmWave technology companies.

Learn more about Molex’s 5G capabilities.

Director of Core Products, Micro Solutions