Beamforming costs and considerations
- The high frequencies and a large number of antenna elements can be costly.
- Digital beamforming requires transceivers for each antenna, adding to the cost with increased power consumption.
- MIMO systems and beamforming algorithms can be complex.
- Antenna performance, beam characteristics and beam management algorithms should be carefully considered and chosen, as they will affect performance.
- Consumer-facing products, such as routers, can be expensive — with some routers ranging from around $90 to $350.
Beamforming can be used with 5G signals to overcome the obstacles 5G typically faces, including interference and range limitations. 5G beamforming enables more focused signals to be sent to a receiving device like a smartphone or laptop. The process minimizes interference between individual beams.
Hybrid beamforming and massive MIMO are common candidates for 5G. Massive MIMO, for example, may use multi-antenna arrays and spatial multiplexing to transmit multiple independent signals.
Future of beamforming technology
Beamforming has the potential to become more common in Wi-Fi and 5G networks, and it may become a necessary technology to help communication networks meet future data rates and network capacities. In addition, as beamforming algorithms improve, beamforming will be able to select the best data paths.