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How Relevant is Packaging for 5G?
Keywords: 5G Systems, Packaging and system-integration, System design
The millimeter-wave (mmWave) band offers enormous bandwidth that is unparalleled compared to the bandwidth available in the sub 6 GHz spectrum that has been used for all previous and current generations of mobile commu- nication. Consequently, it is currently being explored to be used for the 5th generation of mobile communication (5G). However, the development of 5G mmWave hardware is a daunting task. Many challenges must first be over-come in order to make mobile communication possible in the mmWave spec-trum. One of these challenges is the free space attenuation. The free space attenuation at mmWave frequencies is extremely large in comparison to at-tenuation at frequency bands used for 4G systems, e.g. free space attenuation in the 39 GHz 5G band is approximately 113 dB at a distance of 300 m. In addition to this, there are also losses as a result of shadowing and blockage of mmWave signals by humans and other objects such as houses, trees, etc. These losses may severely degrade the signal- to-noise (SNR) ratio. To over-come these challenges, new MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) and massive MIMO-based antenna arrays and transceiver ICs with integrated hy-brid beamforming functionalities are required. These antennas and ICs must be integrated very close to each other, and interconnected with other system components to enable the development of 5G mmWave systems. The ques-tions is, how relevant is the role played by packaging in the integration and interconnection of these mmWave MIMO and massive MIMO antennas and transceiver ICs? What requirements must packaging configurations, inter- connects and materials meet for them to be used in the development of 5G mmWave systems? What is the impact of packaging on the performance, reliability, miniaturization and cost of 5G mmWave systems? In this contribution, we present, and extensively discuss the answers of the above mentioned fundamental questions regarding the relevance of packag-ing for 5G. We begin by presenting scalable mmWave MIMO and massive MIMO-based system transceiver architectures for 5G. We then deduce the requirements on packaging for system-integration of these mmWave trans-ceiver ICs together with other system components for the development of 5G mmWave systems. Finally, we discuss the impact of packaging on the RF performance, reliability, miniaturization and cost of 5G mmWave systems.
Ivan Ndip, Head of Department, RF & Smart Sensor Systems
Fraunhofer IZM
Berlin, Berlin

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