Everybody needs high-speed internet – but how do we get there? Whether we are streaming TV series on our smart TV, working at high-performance computers in a factory, or doing some research on the tablet at school: a quick data exchange very often decides on weal or woe, success or tears. However, the network coverage still has too many gaps in Germany. To produce relief here, a state-of-the-art infrastructure is required that responds to the specific needs.
Over the last decades, many electrically conductive plastic products have been developed that help to cover dead spots. These plastics feature integrated functions reaching from the protection against electrostatic discharge, to the shielding against electromagnetic interference and radio frequency interference, and the transmission of signals.
These special plastics are mostly thermoplastics filled with electrically conductive particles. They take advantage of the benefits of plastics, combined with the electrical conductivity of the filling insert. Thus, they contribute to driving the networking of the modern world.
Networking does not bypass modern cars either. Already without self-driving cars, the amount of data is increasingly growing. More complex entertainment systems, Wi-Fi, television reception – the digital demands of modern car drivers and co-drivers evolve in line with the technological possibilities. This entails increasing requirements on the antennas which – at the same time – have become ever smaller in size over the last years. For the connection to other vehicles, control centres, and the general digital infrastructure to work smoothly, antennas need to be powerful and have a large coverage while, at the same time, support the quick transmission of signals to the computing brains in the vehicles. Ideally, they also integrate elegantly in the car chassis. Thanks to their freedom in design and light weight, plastics often fulfil these requirements perfectly and are often used here in state-of-the-art cars.
5G is providing the next challenge in terms of antenna technology, as network requirements are growing also in buildings. Today’s contemporary lifestyle needs ever more services, frequencies, and bandwidth. Completely new and ever higher-performing antennas are now fulfilling these requirements on top of buildings – while making more and more use of a body housing made of glass fibre-reinforced plastic.
Another development of our times unfortunately includes the increasing number of extreme weather situations. Plastics withstand even most severe weather conditions without any problems and are generally very long-lasting – thus saving some cost-intensive reparation of the digital infrastructure. In addition, the light weight and the simple shaping offer an important function when it comes to integrating systems in a simple way into the existing public infrastructure. Ultimately, the material features an important advantage also for another aspect of networking: the electromagnetic compatibility. Thus, plastics guarantee a clearly better penetration of radio waves compared to alternative materials.