Novel Antenna Combines A Parabolic Dish And A Phased Array

Lockheed Martin has created a novel millimeter-wave dish antenna for space-based 5G communication.
With the emergence of 5G communication technologies, there is an increasing focus on creating transmitters for mmWave frequencies of 5G band. These frequencies are affected by various obstacles in the environment and with weather conditions. Therefore, it is necessary to steer the data into multiple directions in order to increase the probability of receiving high-intensity data at the receiver. Phased array antennas are employed to do the same. These antennas are a computer-controlled array of antennas which creates a beam of radio waves that can be electronically steered to point in different directions without moving the antennas.
However, directivity is the main issue with such antennas. Parabolic dish antennas are highly directional, and function to transmit the radio waves in a narrow beam. Lockheed Martin has created a novel millimeter-wave dish antenna for satellites and ground terminals, particularly for space-based 5G communication.
The novel antenna is called ‘wide angle ESA fed reflector’ (Waefr). It is a hybrid of a phased array electronically steerable antenna (ESA) and a parabolic dish, and is claimed to increase coverage area by 190% compared to traditional phased array antennas, at lower cost.
According to the company, the high gain of a dish with the beam agility of a phased array provides higher reliability as compared to scanning methods using mechanical gimbals.
“The primary benefit of the Waefr approach is accomplishing more missions with fewer resources,” said Lockheed Martin Space technologist Thomas Hand. “While state of the art ESA solutions can address more demanding link performance, capacity, and data rates using multiple agile analogue beams, they do so at a premium.”


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