Why 5G will increase PCB market demand

Why 5G will increase PCB market demand

The PCB market is large

In the early stage of 5G construction, the increase in demand for PCBs is reflected in wireless networks and transmission networks, and there is a greater demand for backplane pcb, high-frequency pcbs, and high-speed multilayer pcbs. As early as 2016, the proportion of communication equipment PCB has surpassed the proportion of consumer electronics, Both communication equipment PCB and automotive electronics have become new driving forces for the development of the PCB industry. The compound annual growth rate of these two will reach 7% and 6% respectively.

Increased demand for PCBs in 5G base stations

The antenna's integration requirements have become significantly higher. AAU needs to integrated with more components in a smaller size and more layers. Therefore, the PCB consumption of a single base station will increase significantly, and its process and raw materials need to be completely upgraded, the technical barriers are comprehensively improved. The transmit power of 5G base stations has been greatly expanded compared with 4G, requiring a comprehensive upgrade of PCB substrates, which must meet the characteristics of high frequency, high speed, and good heat dissipation. For example, the dielectric constant and dielectric loss are small and stable; and the thermal expansion coefficient of copper foil is as consistent as possible; low water absorption, and other good heat resistance, chemical resistance, impact strength and peel strength. The difficulty of PCB processing will also increase significantly. The high-frequency and high-speed logistics and chemical properties are different from those of ordinary PCBs, resulting in different processing processes. Multiple functions need to be implemented on the same PCB, and different materials need to be mixed. Therefore, the value of PCB will also be further increased.

The transmission rate has increased while the transmission delay has been reduced.  BBU's requirements for radio frequency information processing capabilities have been increased, which has greatly increased the demand for high-speed PCB boards. The core configuration of the BBU is a backplane and two single boards (main control board and baseband board). The backplane mainly serves the function of connecting single boards and realizing signal transmission. It has the characteristics of high multi-layers, super large size, super high thickness, super weight, and high stability. It is extremely difficult to process. It is the highest unit value PCB in the base station. The single board is responsible for the processing of the radio frequency signal and the connection to the RRU, and high-speed multilayer PCBs are mainly used. With the increase of high-speed data exchange scenarios in the 5G era, the number of layers and consumption of high-speed materials for backplanes and single boards will be further increased. The number of layers of the backplane and veneer will be increased from 18-20 layers to 20-30 layers. The copper clad laminate needs to be upgraded from traditional FR4 to higher-performance high-speed materials, such as M4/6/7, so the price per square meter will be improved as well.