Pia Habel


5G from Simple to Showy: Partners Pimp Antenna Housing

  • Telekom, Covestro and Swedish design institute Umeå develop creative antenna housing 
  • Technology and design for powerful small cell antennae
  • Initial designs modeled on a bird and a clock
Visitors can view the concept called “The Bird” at Covestro's stand at “K 2019” in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Visitors can view the concept called “The Bird” at Covestro's stand at “K 2019” in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Deutsche Telekom, Covestro and the Swedish Umeå Institute of Design (UID) are cooperating for 5G. During a pilot project, the partners tested creative designs for small 5G antennae. These innovative housing solutions are used, for example, to build so-called small cells. Small cells are small mobile radio cells. They increase data throughput where many customers are on the move or surf the web. The partners are developing antenna housings that fit in with the urban landscape, either by standing out with a decorative design, or by harmoniously blending in to their surroundings.

The companies are complementing one another's strengths as they work on the project. Covestro develops innovative and sustainable material solutions. Telekom contributes its technological expertise on antennae for mobile wireless and network expansion. Students at the UID conceptualize the creative designs. They began by carrying out a study on the ground in Düsseldorf. Then, they drafted attractive antenna housings with colors and structures that met technical and aesthetic requirements. This resulted in a variety of design concepts. Now, there are two example models: a bird and a clock. The concept called “The Bird” considers 5G from a new standpoint, and pushes the limits of what is possible. The clock design, “24h5G,” integrates new material properties like translucency and thermal management for 5G small cell antenna housings. Trade fair visitors can view the exhibitions today at Covestro's stand at “K 2019.” K is the international specialist fair for plastics and rubber held in Düsseldorf, Germany. 

Compact antennae provide a targeted boost to data capacity

In future, Telekom will be installing more small cells for 5G, for instance in stoplights, lanterns, or facades. These compact antennae have a range of around 200 meters. They are connected to the Telekom network via fiber optics. This allows data to be transported extremely quickly, ensuring future networks are extremely powerful. Alongside traditional locations, this allows the network to provide the coverage and capacity necessary for the growing number of wireless devices. Telekom already uses small cells in its LTE expansion.

“In the design project with Covestro, we were able to place our technical requirements early on and work together with the students on their design ideas,” says Dr. Thomas Jansen, Head of the Small Cell Competence Team at Deutsche Telekom Technik. “Together, we have developed powerful 5G solutions that can be harmoniously integrated into the cityscape.” 

“The entire pilot project is a great chance to illustrate the potential and the outstanding properties of our materials,” says Sucheta Govil, Chief Commercial Officer of Covestro. “Innovative, adaptable materials will give us creative freedom to accelerate the distribution of key digital technologies with user-friendly solutions in the near future.”

About Covestro:
With 2018 sales of EUR 14.6 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, construction, wood processing and furniture, and electrical and electronics industries. Other sectors include sports and leisure, cosmetics, health and the chemical industry itself. Covestro has 30 production sites worldwide and employs approximately 16,800 people (calculated as full-time equivalents) as of the end of 2018.
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