We can teach you about the best 5G Ready and 5G antennas on the Market. Read our article below and click our active links to learn about each antenna's specifications.
From faster upload speeds and virtually zero latency to empowering innovations like self-driving cars or the ubiquity of the Internet of Things (IoT), the new 5G cellular network is expected to transform our world in ways we are yet to imagine — if it can get to you. As of January 2021, approximately 75% of the United States population could receive 5G coverage, but there are still large portions of the country where this technology is unavailable.
The high-frequency, short-range signal 5G delivers can only be leveraged through a decentralized network of 5G antennas to bring the signal to your mobile devices. That's why 5G antennas are likely to pop up all over public spaces, even in more discreet locations.
Short, tall, mobile, long-range, indoor and outdoor, there's no shortage of 5G antenna types, so how do you know which one is best for you?
Why 5G Antennas Matter
What makes the 5G internet so much more powerful than its predecessor is, in part, the difference in how it reaches the user. 4G internet was broadcast over a lower-frequency, longer-range bandwidth by large transmission towers, enabling signals to penetrate obstacles and be broadcast in multiple directions, even when they weren't used.
5G internet is transmitted over a higher frequency bandwidth, causing it to travel shorter distances and eliminating its ability to pass through obstacles. Some 5G signals also require a clear line of sight to function, as they are only sent out in one direction, unlike 4G.
The shorter transmission range doesn't negate the benefits of a 5G network. Still, it does require the use of many more antennas than its parent system. While 100 4G towers would have been sufficient to cover all of Manhattan, 5,000–20,000 5G antennas would need to be strategically placed throughout the same space to provide total coverage.
Transmitting high-energy millimetre-wide signals rather than the multi-centimetre-long waves of 4G, these microcells are much smaller and provide direct network access to the user, resolving the problem of short transmission length.
Who Makes 5G Antennas?
The development of a comprehensive 5G network will likely cost more than 750 billion dollars over the next five years. A good portion of that can be expected to go toward 5G antenna manufacture and installation. Plenty of companies are already in on this lucrative industry and manufacture some of the highest-quality 5G antennas on the market today. A few of the most popular 5G antenna manufacturers and suppliers are:
- Taoglas (specializing in the sub-6 GHz frequency)
- PCTel (specializing in commercial 5G antennas; agricultural, mining, military, public safety, base station etc.)
- Samsung (specializing in 2.5–39 GHz frequency)
- Fractus Antennas S.L. (manufactures the smallest 5G antenna at 7mm X 3mm X 1mm)
- Airgain (pursuing a 30% OTA performance improvement over competing antenna manufacturers)
- Panorama (manufactures antennas for 600MHz, 700MHz, 3GHz, 5GHz frequencies)
- Mobile Mark (manufactures narrow and wide-band antennas in the 600MHz–6GHz frequency range)
Many other companies are entering the 5G industry, so look for other start-ups to join the field.
What Does a 5G Antenna Look Like?
5G antennas bear little resemblance to the 4G antennas that now stud the skyline. That's good news because if it's going to take 5–20 times more antennas to develop a complete 5G infrastructure, they'll need to be as discreet as possible. Most 5G antennas are designed to be mounted on light poles or traffic lights when placed outdoors and can easily fit under desks or in-ceiling tiles when installed inside. Users will likely be surrounded by a network of compact 5G antennas without ever even knowing it.
5G Antennas Come in All Shapes and Sizes
A quick comparison between a few 5G antennas shows just how much they vary in appearance, and its application will likely determine the best form factor for your antenna. From the sleek "X" shape and mounting versatility of the DMM-7-38 antenna made by Panorama to the tall, narrow design of the Taoglass Barracuda outdoor antenna, the geometry and size of 5G antennas can match whatever needs are necessary.
Transmission Ranges and 5G vs.
The difference between 5G internet and 4G is made more complex because the former is transmitted across a much greater frequency band than 4G. While existing 4G technology transmits data across the 2–8GHz bandwidth, 5G can transmit data up to 90GHz. That means there is much more room for data to be relayed, causing a need for transmission signals to be stratified.
- Lower-tier 5G transmission can be broadcast in the sub-6GHz range and may share some overlap with 4G networks.
- Mid-range 5G data can be transmitted over 1–6GHz and is currently the most popular form of 5G transmission.
- High-band 5G, sometimes known as mmWave, offers the highest transmission speeds and falls in the 25–39 GHz range — or even higher.
The reason all that matters in the choice of your 5G antenna is that some may not transmit over the entire 5G frequency band. Most 5G antennas can already operate in the sub-6GHz frequency range, and a few can access mid-range transmission as well.
However, mmWave transmission is still a work in progress and is likely to be found primarily in urban centers where there will be enough antennas to transmit it across the very short range it can travel. So, while some devices are advertised as 5G-ready, they may not transmit across all 5G frequency bands.
What to Look for When Buying a 5G Antenna
With so many 5G antennas transmitting across such a broad frequency range, you may be left wondering what features to look for. Although it will depend heavily upon how you plan to use it, there are a few parameters to consider when purchasing a 5G antenna, like:
- Environmental Specifications (temperature, indoor/outdoor, wind speed, vibration resistance, etc.)
- Cable customization
- Frequency Range & MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output)
Since the type of 5G antenna you choose so heavily depends on the application, here's a look at the best types of antenna the market has to offer.
Longest Range Antenna
Antennas with the longest range will have to transmit in the sub-6GHz band, but there are still plenty of 5G antennas that can pick up this signal.
Perhaps one of the most robust and advanced antennas on the market today, this outdoor antenna is a tremendous combination of durability and range. Made by Bolton Antennas, The Long Ranger can detect a signal from up to 10 miles away. The specs are:
- Up to +28dBi of gain, N-Female termination
- 10-degree directional beam
- For all cellular and WiFi bandwidths: 5G, 4G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, and more
- Reliable, weatherproof construction
If you're looking for a rugged long-range 5G antenna, this one lives up to its name.
Top Antenna for Mobile (Vehicle) Applications
You may not need a long-range transmission capacity as much if you're on the go. Vehicular 5G antennas must perform well under high wind speeds, and must be able to withstand greater vibrations and temperature fluctuations — and they'll become increasingly common as self-driving cars come equipped with them.
Expect the transportation industry to digitize much of its operations as 5G infrastructure develops — and when it does, the Coach II will be ready to play. Requiring greater focus on mountability and casing design, mobile 5G antenna applications must be able to withstand the elements with greater toughness than indoor antennas, and the Coach II has been built for precisely that purpose. The specs are:
- Full Multi-GNSS compatibility – encompasses global GNSS systems.
- Superior out-of-band rejection – Proprietary filtering design enables wideband coverage for any GNSS frequency.
- Easy installation and/or replacement – Metal stud mount with slotted jam nut enables a single cable exit point.
- Withstands severe environmental conditions – IP67 compliant design with custom over moulded gasket protects against water or dust penetration.
- AAR Compliant.
Built to withstand higher wind speeds and vibrations, the Coach II empowers 5G on the go.
Top Antenna for Outdoor Applications
Not all outdoor applications must be mobile. Many 5G antennas will be installed upon light posts or sides of buildings to provide mobile phone users the access they need, so there's ample need for stationary outdoor antennas. Like vehicular models, these must be able to withstand the elements like UV radiation, water, and temperature changes. However, their stationary use means they won't experience many vibrations or such high wind speed.
This slender omnidirectional antenna can transmit 5G to any passersby and can be monitored to surrounding fixtures to provide the comprehensive network coverage that 5G needs to thrive. The specs are:
- Covers all 5G sub 6GHz and 4G/LTE bands, 600MHz-6GHz
- High efficiency, omnidirectional coverage
- Up to 6dBi Peak Gain
- IP65 Rated Enclosure
- Wind resistant up to 200km/h
- Connector: N-Type Female
- Radome Dimensions: Ø26 x 340mm
- Bracket Dimensions: 70 x 50 x 45mm
- RoHS & Reach Compliant
This antenna is subtle yet rugged for industrial applications and for building a network on urban streets everywhere.
Top Antenna for Indoor Applications
A truly integrated 5G network will require more than outdoor antennas. From schools to offices to your favourite coffee shops, indoor antennas are likely to comprise much of the 5G infrastructure — and while they may not be as rugged as outdoor antennas, they're every bit as effective. Your indoor antenna shouldn't be getting much exposure to the elements, so there's no need to spend extra money on designs meant to protect it from high-speed winds and vibrations.
Take your indoor 5G experience to the max with this indoor dipole favourite antenna. This ultra-wideband antenna is externally mounted and provides optimum efficiency for IoT and M2M applications. Fit for indoor cellular modules, modems, and gateways, the OMNIMAX outperforms many competing 5G antennas and provides coverage for all cellular standards, as well as the 2G–5G frequency band. The specs are:
- Standard 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE, 5G (Band 71, LTE, CBRS, LAA)
- Frequency Range: 617 MHz – 6.0 GHz
- Peak Gain: 1.1 dBi @ 617 MHz; 0.7 dBi @ 850 MHz; 2.3 dBi @ 1450 MHz; 1.6 dBi @ 1750 MHz; 2.5 dBi @ 1950 MHz; 2.2 dBi @ 2250 MHz; 2.6 dBi @ 2450 MHz; 2.7 dBi @ 3700 MHz; 3.5 dBi @ 5500 MHz
- Feed Impedance: 50 ohms
- Power Handling: 30 dBm
- Interface: SMA Male
- Dimensions: 252 mm (L) x 35 mm (W) x 13 mm (H)
- Temperature Range: Operating: -30°C to +75°C, Storage: -30°C to +75°C
- Humidity Range: 5%–95%
With all the performance of other antenna applications and less need of outdoor design, indoor antennas are an integral part of the 5G equation.
Novotech: Empowering 5G Antenna Solutions Everywhere
Faster upload speeds and negligible latency are just a few of the immediate benefits 5G brings to the table, and the most exciting potential lies in applications we haven't even considered yet. One thing we do know: antennas of all types will be needed to help 5G reach its fullest potential.
At Novotech, we've got the expertise it takes to future-proof your antenna applications. Whether outdoor, portable, long-range or stationary, we source a variety of 5G cellular antennas, so we're sure to have the solution for you. Contact us today and see for yourself.