5G-compatible Products Available, Mass Production Started: Mentech Optical & Magnetic

May 22 , 2020

Both Challenge and Opportunity: Road from 4G to 5G

In recent years, 5G has become a buzzword and drawn a lot of attention. Promising applications such as autopilot vehicles, IoT have opened up 2020, the year said to kick-start era of 5G, to possibilities bound only by imagination. Such prospects mandate drastic upgrades to underlying technology to cater for 5G's demands.

Commitments to R&D in Preparation for 5G Commercialization: Mentech

Mentech Optical & Magnetic Co. Ltd. is a renowned maker and solution provider of optoelectric and magnetic components used in telecommunication industry. Since its foundation in 2008, Mentech has continued to focus on and invest in this area, with its accumulated expertise on 4G-related components qualifying it as an early member of NBASE-T Alliance in 2015, which is a joint effort lead by famous names in this field such as Cisco to develop next generation Ethernet. Mentech started making investment to R&D of 5G-compatible products as early as 2016 to have a head start in its upcoming commercialization.

‘The increase in speed and efficiency is characteristic of the transition from 4G to 5G, with speed increase at up to 100 times, delay down to tenth its predecessor, as a result, energy efficiency of 5G has to be 100 times that of 4G, which puts taxing demand on optical transceiver, a core component in 5G backbone, the same goes for heat resistance and so on. Our R&D has put in great efforts to clear these strict technical obstacles’, said Chen Chong, Chief Engineer of Optical division in Mentech.

Mentech is fully conscious of the importance of persistent R&D input in order to maintain competitiveness of its products. In April 2018, Mentech established a new R&D facility in Wuhan and tasked it with the development of 400G SR8 product. The prototype was successfully produced 4 months later and mass production of the high-speed transceiver was also achieved thanks to R&D’s efforts on COB production process. Mentech is now leading the industry in terms of manufacturing capacity and technology of high-speed products, which have also paved the way for more growth down the path in 5G era.

2020 is Tough, and the Tough Get Going

Without a doubt, the landscape of telecommunication industry has been profoundly changed in 2020 by both the pandemic and trade spats. 5G equipment makers based in China came under close scrutiny as a consequence and Mentech was no exception. Concerns from customers have sunk in.

To meet customers’ demands, Mentech has taken an array of measures, such as appointing FAE engineers to assist customer’s engineers in designing their products and designating exclusive production line for customers. By staying in close connection with our customers’ R&D team and being highly responsive, satisfaction is guaranteed.

Mentech Establishing a Stronghold in 5G Ecosystem

5G is an industry with a vast and diverse eco-system, which is in turn made up of participants such as carriers, equipment makers, optical component/transceiver makers, antenna and power supply makers etc. Mentech has capability of both ‘light’ and ‘electricity’ in this diverse industry, supplying optical transceivers and power supply systems which help customers better prepare for the 5G commercialization.

To better support equipment makers and carriers in streamlining rollout of 5G networks, especially in the part of front-haul which is what early-stage construction focuses on, Mentech built a 5G specialized team with its most skilled engineers onboard and in 9 months’ time, successfully developed a lineup of transceivers that can reliably function under industrial temperature range in various wavelengths, an achievement that made Mentech the one-stop go-to supplier for front-haul transceivers.

While 5G rollout was actively progressing in domestic market, two technical problems faced Mentech: reliable power supply to 5G base stations in complex scenarios and high-speed multi-wavelength transceivers. Any breakthrough in 5G business is hinged on the solution of these two problems.

Breakthrough in Power Supply Solution for 5G Base Stations

Characteristics of 5G station such as mass deployment and high density add to the complexity of its working environment compared to 4G station, which also expose problems such as lack of capacity and low reliability in 5G station’s power supply system. To tackle these problems, Mentech started researching in 2016 and came forward with its solution, which encompasses adoption of compact power modules to achieve higher output with less space, diversification of energy sources, innovative features such as time-varying power supply, cap on input power and ‘leveling’ output power. These all combine to provide a more intelligent, energy-efficient and complete solution for powering 5G stations.

WDM Optical Transceivers for 5G network

With the problem of power supply out of way, Mentech also tackled and acquired critical know-how on the other challenging problem faced 5G rollout, optical networking. Mentech led the industry by its early introduction of bi-directional optical transceivers, capability to ship 6 wave-lengths WDM products on a large scale, as well as technical edge on 12 wave-lengths products. Mentech’s power supply products and optical transceivers contributed to the 5G rollout in China and abroad, with its long-term partnership with Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson, Nokia and sales network spanning regional centers in Mainland China and Taiwan, US, Germany, South Korea, Japan and Singapore.

It is expected that global 5G service income will top 65 billion USD in 2025 and by 2035, 5G will have generated economic output totaling 12.3 trillion USD. Against this backdrop, optical, magnetic and electric related components and products are poised to see a surge in demands. Tomorrow holds both challenges and opportunities for Mentech.

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