Apple is testing next-generation wireless technologies

Apple is testing a next-generation wireless technology dubbed “millimeter wave” that could potentially radically increase the speed and bandwidth of a cellular connection, according to Business Insider.

Millimeter wave, which is also known as extremely high frequency (EHF)  or very high frequency (VHF) by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), can be used for high-speed wireless broadband communications. Millimeter wave is an undeveloped band of spectrum that can be used in a broad range of products and services like high speed, point-to-point wireless local area networks (WLANs) and broadband access. In telecommunications, millimeter wave is used for a variety of services on mobile and wireless networks, as it allows for higher data rates up to 10 Gbps.

Millimeter wave is being considered by standards organization, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and researchers as the way to bring 5G into the future by allocating more bandwidth to deliver faster, higher-quality video, and multimedia content and services. The 5G technology standard is under development as the Internet of Things and an increasing number of mobile users create demand for next-generation wireless infrastructure. 

As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes a reality, wireless networks will need to support a greater number of users and devices. Next-generation 5G networks may be the answer to IoT's needs to ensure wireless infrastructure can handle the load.

An application for an experimental license to use the new wireless technology was signed on Tuesday by Apple and made public by the FCC. "Apple Inc. seeks to assess cellular link performance in direct path and multipath environments between base station transmitters and receivers using this spectrum," according to the application.

The Apple application specifically mentions the 28 and 39 GHz bands, which the FCC approved for commercial use for 5G applications last year. One of the bands that Apple intends to test, 28GHz, is allocated for earth-to-space transmissions, according to part of the application. Bloomberg reported last month that Apple formed a new hardware team filled with people who have experience with spacecraft and satellite design.