One of the unsung but critical components that enable wireless communications are the filters which reside in the smartphone, and which are expected to proliferate in number in a 5G world. As Resonant CEO Dylan Kelly describes it, if spectrum bands are similar to lanes on a highway, filters are the mechanism by which the lanes are differentiated and traffic flow controlled, so that the “vehicles” of data don’t interfere with each other.

As new frequency bands are opened around the world for 5G (around 3-5 GHz) and Wi-Fi use (around 5-6 GHz), Kelly said, the industry is struggling to keep up with the need for filters which will be able to handle operations in those bands and filter out interference from the operations in those newly opened “lanes.”

Acoustic wave filter design company Resonant spent last year’s Mobile World Congress Barcelona, Resonant showcased a new filter design that enabled 10% bandwidth—a significant technology jump, according to the company, because typical filter performance is around 3-4%. This year, it has pushed the envelope even further, with a new filter capable of up to 20% bandwidth. Data rates, Kelly noted, are “directly correlated with bandwidth.”

In January, the company had two customer announcements: an expansion of an existing relationship to include three new RF filter designs, and news that it had signed multiple licensing agreements with a new foundry partner focused on the Chinese device market.

In an interview with RCR Wireless News, Kelly and Resonant Chairman and CEO George Holmes discussed the company’s new filter design and trends in filter needs and technology.

“We’ve been pretty stagnated in frequencies from 1-2 GHz for the last 20 years,” Kelly said, noting a few exceptions such as the push down to 600 MHz and up to 2.5 GHz. “It’s a new thing where we’re seeing frequency bands being auctioned in the 3-5 GHz range.” He went on to say that as those technologies launch, technology bottlenecks include the clearing of the spectrum as well as filters.

“The industry is racing to try to solve this problem of how do they enable this newly available spectrum,” he said. Filters are a key part of that, and Resonant is working to make that possible.

But, Kelly said, “We’re very much in the hype cycle of 5G right now,” going on to say that the efficiency of 5G is attractive to operators looking to decrease the strain of user data demands on their networks while retaining profitability. But 5G isn’t necessarily a differentiated experience in its first iteration: most models for early 5G only estimate about a 20% increase in real data rates per user, Kelly said, and he estimates it will be in the 2022-2023 timeframe before there are broad deployments at 3-5 GHz that will help support  consistent, large increases in 5G speeds for users.

But, he added, “In the device development cycle, 2022 is right around the corner”—so for 2020, Resonant is focused on execution, and “just keeping our nose down and making sure we have the technology ready in time.”

Watch the full interview with Kelly and Holmes below:

The post Resonant filters out the 5G hype appeared first on RCR Wireless News.


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