Millimetre band – what is it and how might it affect connectivity?

Thankfully, there are various types of network connections available to us nowadays that make our lives so much easier, whether it be in work settings, our personal lives, and virtually all areas of our day-to-day existence. Fast, secure and efficient network connections with the capacity to transmit vast amounts of information are indispensable in the modern world. That’s why technologies such as fibre optic, 5G and other types of low latency connections are constantly being pushed to new limits. Millimetre band, or mmWave, is a clear example of that drive to open up new frontiers.



mmWave: wireless network connectivity that’s as fast as fibre optic

Millimetre band – also known as mmWave – is closely associated with 5G technology, i.e. it’s a type of wireless network connection. From the very beginning, 5G has promised higher bandwidth, seriously low latency and much faster response speeds on mobile devices than its younger siblings, 4G and 3G. But for 5G network connections to really squeeze every last drop out of their potential, a number of complementary solutions have had to be put in place.


Millimetre band is one of them. It takes its name from one of the key parameters of wireless network connectivity: frequency. All wireless signals link frequency with wavelength. The higher the frequency of a signal, the shorter the wavelength, i.e. the distance between one wave and the next. mmWave belongs to the highest band on the radio spectrum, meaning it has a very high frequency and the distance between frequency waves is tiny. Hence the nickname, “millimetre”.



Benefits of millimetre band

By assigning operators a significant fraction of the spectrum, like in the case of mmWave, operators will be able to make use of the entire bandwidth, with lots of available capacity. This will allow wireless network connections to be “squeezed” in order to deliver low-latency data flows that could practically be equated to fibre optic levels of performance.



Excellent connectivity, but not everywhere

However, this signal “power” and versatility has a drawback: it attenuates quickly, meaning it can’t travel long distances without losing its potency, nor can it easily pass through certain solid obstacles. As a result, mmWave is typically seen as a solution for demanding network connections in very specific and physically enclosed settings, including mass events, public transport environments, such as trains and planes, airports, etc.



In Spain, these network connections are a slow burner

High frequency band network connections, where the millimetre band itself is located, are already available. In fact, the auctioning of twelve 200MHz blocks took place in late 2022, which means the main operators are already working on projects with mmWave. However, those same telecommunications operators also recognise that, for now, actual demand for this type of wireless network connectivity remains low, almost certainly because it’s not an option that’s widely understood by the general public.


However, that moment will come in the medium term. And thanks to the bandwidth potential of mmWave, we’ll soon be able to enjoy fantastic connectivity in places that currently experience issues owing to high demand. In this way, all you really need to know is that each 200MHz block delivers spectral efficiency of up to around 2.5Gbps for downloads and 750Mb for uploads to conventional 5G terminals.

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