Digitalization has reached an entirely new level with the introduction of 5G networks. The fifth generation of the wireless standard is another key milestone for Germany as a leader in the world of science and industry. However, the right infrastructure is needed to ensure that this revolutionary technology can actually penetrate every corner of our everyday lives. 5G transmits on a special wavelength, which must be stable and constantly available; otherwise, applications such as autonomous driving will not be possible.
To have reliable access to 5G in Germany, it is estimated that between 500,000 and 800,000 new antennas will have to be installed. This calls for new materials, new designs and new cooperations to ensure that the appearance of cities are not negatively impacted. Covestro, Deutsche Telekom and the Swedish Umeå Institute of Design (UID) are cooperating for 5G.
The three partners are testing new designs for 5G antennas in a pilot project. The innovative housing solutions are used, for example, to set up small mobile communications cells ("smart cells"). They increase data throughput in places where many customers are on the move or surfing the Internet. 5G antennas need to blend in seamlessly with the urban environment - for instance, as a colorful bird sitting on a traffic light, or shaped like a clock hanging at a bus stop. Innovative, high-performance plastics from Covestro are perfect for manufacturing 5G antenna housings: they are permeable for 5G signals, weather-resistant and offer creative design capabilities. They are also easy to recycle.