Microwave vs. Millimeter-Wave Propagation Channels: Key Differences and Impact on 5G Cellular Systems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Fifth generation cellular systems will be deployed in the microwave and millimeter–wave (mmWave) frequency bands (i.e., between 0.5–100 GHz). Propagation characteristics at these bands have a fundamental impact on each aspect of the cellular architecture, ranging from equipment design to real-time performance in the field. While we have a reasonable understanding of the propagation characteristics at microwave (< 6 GHz) frequencies, the same cannot be said for mmWave. This article explains key differences in the propagation characteristics between the microwave and mmWave bands, and further gives examples of how these differences impact 5G system design.


External organisations
  • Samsung Electronics, Co., Ltd.
  • Intel Corporation, USA
  • New York University
  • Spark New Zealand
  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications
  • University of Southern California
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Communication Systems


  • Fifth-generation (5G) cellular, massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO), Microwave, Millimeter-wave, Propagation channels
Original languageEnglish
Article number8570034
Pages (from-to)14-20
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Communications Magazine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 7
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

In the feature topic of "5G Channel Models and Measurements"