A new piece of research could offer welcome news for smartphone users struggling with poor signals, slow downloads, and short battery life.
Researchers at the Radio Science and Engineering Department at Finland's Aalto University have developed a digital antenna design that is expected to improve reception, data-transfer speed, and power consumption.
Currently, smartphones have multiple antennas that each work with one or several frequencies dedicated to specific smartphone applications, such as cellular reception, GPS, and Bluetooth.
The new method is set to change this approach by combining several small antenna elements together as a single aerial, which can be controlled digitally to operate at any frequency.
Viikari compares this approach to a guitar where a single open string could digitally be made to produce a different note. When one compact antenna can be used for multiple frequencies, it frees up space for the likes of larger touchscreens, thanks to smaller bezels, without sacrificing the phone's performance.
But the new digital method promises to give the antenna greater bandwidth, which results in better radiation efficiency and the 100 to 1,000 times faster data transfer speeds set as an objective for the next-generation of 5G smartphones. Read more.