TU / e employees have been working for some time on a new technology that enables the rapid transfer of information via 5G, and in the long term via 6G, over longer distances.
The technology uses a series of electronically coupled antennas, which bundle the signals and then send them in the right direction, similar to a laser beam. As a result, a hundred times greater signal strength is possible, so that on a sunny day a distance that is five times greater than with current techniques can be achieved.
Many more antennas are required for this method. “With the 4G network you can cover about a kilometer with a mast. Soon with 5G, the area will be smaller: about 100 or 150 meters. But the antennas will also be smaller and can, for example, be concealed in lampposts”, says Smolders.
The first practical test recently took place from the roof of two buildings on the TU / e campus, and with success.
Lately, there has been much to do about 5G. Radio masts were set on fire in several places. These arson presumably have to do with actions against the arrival of more antennas for the 5G network. According to opponents, the radiation is harmful, but there is no evidence for that. Some people even suggest that there is a link between 5G and the coronavirus.
Smolders thinks the new technique will not be harmful to our health. “There are a lot of concerns about this, of course, but the antennas are getting smarter, so they can send information in a very targeted way. So I think we should be less concerned if we have to worry at all.”
Looking to the future, the professor expects the 6G network to be completed in 10 years. “I am convinced that we will come up with applications that we can not yet imagine. That has always been the case, even with the introduction of 4G and now 5G. In any case, it will be much faster.” It is still unclear whether TU / e technology will eventually be used at 6G.