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Fifth-generation (5G) cellular networks aren’t some technological dream far away on the horizon. They’re already here, bringing potential cellular data speeds of up to 600 times faster than 4G networks and opening the horizons for new-wave technologies and external devices. like the Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual and augmented reality.
Telecom companies and others are jumping into the fray so they can capitalize on what’s sure to be a cellular tech boom. As they do that, they will have to consider 5G EMI shielding as they create new wave absorbing devices and expand their networks.
Shielding any device from electromagnetic interference (EMI) can be a challenge, but there are some special considerations for shielding in the 5G space. Here’s what you need to know.
The Modus Advanced team has been manufacturing top-quality EMI shielding gaskets for a long time, and we’re more than ready for the 5G revolution. If you need a partner who can make sure your EMI shielding is perfect as you break into 5G, contact us.
5G Frequencies Are Stringent
Because of traits inherent to 5G technology and the 4G networks’ inability to accommodate 5G’s level of bandwidth, 5G is operating on its own set of frequencies. And many of these frequency standards are even more stringent than those used in military applications.
What does this mean for electronics designers and engineers? For one thing, it means you will have to design devices that can both operate on those higher frequencies and withstand EMI from higher exposure to electromagnetic fields. In other words, if you thought EMI shielding was important in telecom technology before, you need to understand that it’s much more important than ever with 5G.
You’re Going to Need More 5G EMI Shielding Gaskets
For all its advantages over 4G and previous generations, 5G does come with a limitation: it uses high-frequency millimeter electromagnetic waves. That means 5G signals won’t travel as far or may be stopped by buildings and similar obstacles. The workaround is building an enormous network of small cells instead of a few massive cell towers.
If you live in a smaller town or at least have driven through one, you know there’s maybe one or two cell towers per town. These behemoths dominate the landscape, especially when their red lights flash on the horizon at night. With 5G, that’s not what it’s going to look like.
Where there was once a single cell tower to provide 4G service, there will be dozens of smaller cells all over cities and towns to help 5G signals get around obstructions and to where they need to go. Why does this matter? Because you’re going to have to have a lot of EMI shielding devices to promote a 5G network. That means more EMI-shielding gaskets and devices.
Environmental and EMI Concerns for 5G Shielding
Each of the cells that make up a 5G network is going to be outside and in the elements. That means exposure to rain, snow, ice and heat — not to mention the exposure to external EMI shielding and the need to shield internal parts from electromagnetic interference coming from the cell itself.
Unfortunately, many EMI-shielding materials don’t make good environmental seals. Some do, but many don’t. For 5G shielding, you’re going to have to consider the ability to protect cells from both EMI and environmental factors.
Your ability to do this is likely to come down to your ability to choose the right EMI shielding material. Each material has its own set of specs that determine its effectiveness as a seal and shield. If you need some help with that, you can always lean on your manufacturing partner.
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You Have to Contend with Public Worry
In today’s society, misinformation and conspiracy theories spread as fast as cell signals can go. If you have a few hours to burn, you can go down a conspiracy rabbit hole for just about any topic — and that includes 5G. People have posed theories about 5G that range from possible radiation-related public health risks to the new network causing COVID-19.
You may not believe any of that, but some people do. Unfortunately, you have to contend with that as you build any 5G-capable device. Battling misinformation like that is hard, but you can help yourself by taking every possible step to promote your device as safe and secure.
For an example specific to 5G shielding, you can opt for higher-quality EMI shielding materials, such as those that include silver, to show that you are taking every possible step to keep unnecessary radiated interference inside your device. We’re already seeing signs that engineers and designers are opting for higher-quality materials for 5G devices for that exact reason.
Modus Advanced: Doing 5G Shielding Right
There are plenty of ways to do 5G electromagnetic shielding wrong, but there’s only one way to do it right: work with a trusted manufacturing partner who has all the right skills, experience and equipment. You can find that kind of partner in Modus Advanced.
We’re excited to lead the way in EMI shielding as 5G becomes a part of everyone’s daily lives. New cellular technologies give us more chances to put top-quality EMI shielding devices out into the world, and that’s what we’re here for.
To work with us, all you have to do is reach out. Give us a call at 925-960-8700 or contact us online to get started.