Students were tasked with creating innovative antenna housings
that fit in with the urban landscape, either by standing out with a
decorative design, or by harmoniously blending in to their
To date, one of the main challenges of launching 5G networks on
the broader stage has centred around gaining public approval for
the sheer number of small cells that need to be installed around
the city landscape. Thus far, most models have looked clumsy and
cumbersome, often sticking out like a sore thumb. Making matters
worse, the ultra-high speed millimetre wave networks require these
boxes to be positioned every 200 metres.
The challenge put to UID students meant they were responsible
for conceptualizing the designs. They began by carrying out a field
study in the streets of Düsseldorf. During the next steps of the
process students drafted a range of innovative antenna housings
with colours and structures that met the technical and aesthetic
requirements set by the two companies. This resulted in a wide
variety of design concepts.
In the spotlight at K 2019
This week, two of the final models were presented at K 2019,
Europe's main plastics show in Düsseldorf, Germany. The two example
models chosen were "the bird" and "the clock". The concept called
"the bird", created by Felicia Evaldsson, considers 5G from a new
standpoint, pushing the limits of what has previously been
imagined. The clock design, "24h5G,"created by Lisa Thudén,
integrates new material properties like translucency and thermal
management for 5G small cell antenna housings, emitting an
atmospheric light in the process.
"In the design project, 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."
Previous efforts by major companies to integrate 5G networks in
cities have mainly focused on hiding the antenna housings in
different ways. The approach taken by students at UID could instead
contribute to the identity of a city while adding
October 2019. All images courtesy of Covestro.