Impact of Device Thermal Performance on 5G mmWave Communication Systems

by   Muhammad Iqbal Rochman, et al.

5G millimeter wave (mmWave) cellular networks have been deployed by carriers mostly in dense urban areas of the US, and have been reported to deliver a throughput of around 1 - 2 Gbps per device. These throughput numbers are captured via speed-testing applications which run for only a few seconds at a time and are not indicative of the sustained throughput obtained while downloading a large volume of data that can take several minutes to complete. In this paper we report the first detailed measurements in three cities, Miami, Chicago, and San Francisco that study the impact of skin temperature, as measured by the device, on the throughput that the device is able to sustain over many minutes. We report results from experiments conducted on deployed 5G mmWave networks that show the effect of thermal throttling on a 5G mmWave communication link when a large file download is initiated that saturates the link, i.e., the device is connected to 4 mmWave downlink channels each 100 MHz wide. We observe a gradual increase of skin temperature within 1-2 minutes which correlates to a decrease in the data rate due to the number of aggregated mmWave channels reducing from 4 to 1 before finally switching to 4G LTE. Finally, we identify messaging in the Radio Resource Control (RRC) layer confirming that the reduction in throughput was due to throttling due to the skin temperature rise and further demonstrate that cooling the device restores throughput performance. These results are extremely important since they indicate that the Gbps throughput deliverable by 5G mmWave to an end-user 5G device will be limited not by network characteristics but by device thermal management.


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