What is mmWave? The term millimeter wave (mmWave) refers to a specific part of radio frequency (RF) spectrum with very short wavelengths (i.e., from 24.25 GHz to 52.6 GHz, as specified by 5G 3GPP). The use of mmWave will greatly increase the amount of 5G bandwidth available since this spectrum was mostly unused until now. Another advantage of mmWave is that it can transfer data even faster, even though its transfer distance is shorter. Plus, mmWave bands are less crowded. In contrast, lower frequencies are more heavily congested with TV and radio signals, as well as with current 4G LTE network signals which typically sit between 700 MHz and 3,000 MHz.
However, mmWave spectrum requires strict line-of-sight between user equipment (UE) and radio antennas. Any obstacle, or passive obstruction like highway signs in front of cell sites, trees or buildings as well as moving objects such as cars, have the potential to degrade or block a 5G FR2 signal. To learn more, read our blog ‘RF and 5G new radio: top 5 questions answered’.