5G antennas below the show may make mmWave much less sucking

TL; DR

  • A Korean company developed antenna-on-display technology.
  • This is what a transparent mmWave 5G antenna sees under the display of a smartphone.
  • In theory, this should result in more reliable mmWave 5G connectivity.

mmWave 5G is the fastest type of cellular connection currently available, outperforming 5G below 6 GHz, which is currently the backbone of most 5G networks. But mmWave is a bit more spirited, works over shorter distances and therefore requires more antennas.

Now the OLED touch sensor company Dongwoo Fine-Chem has presented the antenna-on-display (AoD) technology. As the name suggests, Antenna-on-Display is a transparent mmWave antenna that sits under the screen. The antenna also supports the n257, n258 and n260 mmWave bands.

This approach differs from traditional mmWave antennas, which are placed on the edges of the device or on the back. The company says the front of the phone was an ideal place to position an mmWave antenna because it had the “lowest possibility” that users would cover it with their hands. So, if the company’s reasoning holds up, phones with AoD technology should offer more reliable mmWave connectivity and potentially higher speeds as well.

Dongwoo also considered the possibility of transferring this antenna technology to objects such as vehicle and building windows, signs, and street lights. This would theoretically allow for an expanded 5G infrastructure without the need for so many visible devices.

One potential concern is whether the antenna on the display is really invisible to the user, despite the company saying the technology is actually transparent. We’ve seen artifacts and blurring in the area above a selfie camera below the display, but that’s mainly due to the lower resolution in that area, allowing more light to reach the sensor itself.

The company announces that it will demonstrate the technology online during MWC 2021 in Barcelona. Nevertheless, we asked Dongwoo Fine-Chem whether the AoD technology is invisible to users, whether there are agreements with smartphone manufacturers and when we can expect the first commercially available products with this technology. We will update the article when it reaches us.

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