Story // 13.04.2022

Unleashing the full 5G potential with radio wave reflective film

The new mobile communications standard 5G is on the rise. And with new standards evolving, radio waves with ever higher frequencies are used, which are harder to receive due to their high directivity (like sound waves, which are beamed into a room). In order not to miss the advantages of these highly potential standards and their impacts and to support the physical properties of those waves – especially in places with high network usage or poor conditions due to shielding objects (like high buildings) – SEKISUI successfully developed a transparent and flexible Radio Wave Reflection Film.

The film supports 5G and 6G communications since it can reflect radio waves in the sub-6mm wave and THz range. It is not only suitable for millimetre waves, but also for a wide range from 2 to 60 GigaHertz and has a total light transmission of 95%. This strong value was achieved in collaboration with the Canadian company Meta Materials and its metamaterial technology NANOWEB® with nanopatterns, which was combined with the manufacturing technology RML®. The film consists of a meta-material layer which provides a high-frequency radio wave reflection structure. Furthermore, it consists of a highly transparent, thus invisible adhesive layer and a special coating that protects the film surface.

An innovative, transparent and flexible film that can be attached to any surface

Wide range of applications – no maintenance

The radio wave reflection film has a wide range of possible applications. It is suitable for office buildings, corporate campus structures, smart cities – in general, for all places that require strong network coverage. The film can be applied to walls, windows, murals, clocks, curved surfaces or pillars. It has high transparency and does not require maintenance. If the film is applied, for example to a wall or ceiling, it bounces all incoming radio waves, thus allowing to reach even shielded areas. A communication environment can therefore be improved in a very short time at very low cost compared to the installation of a base or relay station.

The advantages are obvious: transparency and flexibility as well as light weight and operation without power supply. Therefore, SEKISUI is planning for the near future to review the specific areas of application in office buildings, factories, shopping centres, medical facilities, care areas, but also in sports facilities, farms and even rail vehicles and road infrastructure. Other possible applications that are not immediately obvious are also conceivable. SEKISUI is looking into the use at construction sites, campsites, and temporary locations such as accident sites for improved first aid performance.

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A contribution to efficiency and safety

One thing is evident: This Radio Wave Reflection Film is an innovative product, which provides ease of mind for (mobile) network users, supports the transformation into the Industrial Internet of Things and significantly improves communication infrastructures of the future. But efficiency is not the only important issue: The more reliable 5G works in the corporate network or in a networked factory, the more secure the entire system is! 5G technology is suitable to take over important safety functions (such as emergency stop for robot-controlled machines), to detect critical conditions and to monitor safety equipment. SEKISUI's Radio Wave Reflection Film provides the reliability that system operators expect and need. Sales of sample products are scheduled to begin in the current 2022 financial year. By 2026, SEKISUI plans a sales target of six billion yen – about 46 million euros.