5G Challenges: Battery life

5G: Technology

5G Challenges: Battery life

5G itself is likely to have a higher current drain than its predecessors but the biggest influence on battery drainage for 5G devices is likely to come from the user. The demands from the device will be increased as 5G provides more capability. Demanding features such as VoLTE, screens, cameras and increased connections will impact the lifespan of the battery.

Simple methods can be implemented to decrease the demands on the battery, such as using low-loss components. There are several methods to achieve this. One is the utilization of thicker copper pastes to allow for better conductivity and reduced losses of components. This will break the destructive cycle of 'heat generating loss' and then de-tuning the products.

Another solution is to use low-power radios. By utilizing 5G as a gateway to low-power radios (such as LoRa or Sigfox), IoT devices that transmit on a low interval will considerably reduce the demands on the battery.

AI solutions can be also introduced to IoT devices to mitigate the demands on the components and the battery. For example a security camera can utilize an AI chip to distinguish between unfamiliar/familiar human or animal behaviour and instruct the camera whether to fully power-up or not. This obviously will have many user benefits only recording, sending alerts, and monitoring essential data.

New innovations in battery chemistry, to ensure the best battery management, will need to be introduced to meet the demands of future 5G IoT devices. Enhanced specifications in battery design will need to be employed to ensure optimal charging and discharging characteristics.

To help maintain the battery life of devices over time, there are also likely to be innovations in energy harvesting. Potential use cases include thermal generation. As 5G devices generate more heat, this energy could be converted to energy to charge the battery. This approach would suit wearable devices, to micro-charge a battery throughout the day as the device is worn.

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