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The future of communications infrastructure is here — let 3M help you connect to what’s possible.

3M solutions for communications infrastructure

The promise of 5G speed and beyond brings new and exciting possibilities for global business, transportation, healthcare, entertainment and more. From IoT-connected homes and workplaces, to expanded virtual and augmented reality, many meaningful connections await — 3M can help you deliver.

  • New possibilities are within reach.

    We understand the challenges you face across communications infrastructure — signal transmission, thermal management, dielectric loss, aesthetics — and how we can help. We combine core technologies to create new capabilities, like repurposing longtime expertise in controlling electromagnetic interference (EMI) for electronics to aid signal strength and integrity — and that’s just the beginning.

    From conductive gaskets for base band units to thermal management solutions for mobile edge computer hardware, 3M solutions cover many critical applications. We constantly look at what’s next — see how 3M products for infrastructure, telecommunications networks, devices and substrates can help you connect your customers to new possibilities now and into the future.

  • 3M periodic table highlighting communication infrastructure materials

    3M innovations for communications infrastructure are rooted in science. To solve challenges in connectivity and beyond, we use technology from across 14 core disciplines. That means some of our best work is going to help you deliver a faster, more reliable connection.


Infrastructure materials

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    • Signal inference icon

      Control EMI with confidence.

      With the proliferation of antennas — from large outdoor structures to small device assemblies — it’s crucial to reduce signal interference as much as possible. 3M taps into a storied history of expertise in controlling EMI in electronics to bring products that can help you reduce noise throughout your 5G infrastructure, so you can deliver a better connection to customers.

      Improving signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is essential for strong wireless connections. Innovative shielding and grounding products from 3M include conductive gaskets, conductive pressure-sensitive adhesives (CPSAs) and absorbers that can help reduce noise around 5G antennas, base band units, mobile edge computer hardware and more.

      We have a rich history in EMI. Learn what it means for you.

    • Wireless access point icon

      Design components and substrates with attractive dielectric material properties to minimize signal transmission loss.

      The design of plastic components and substrates for 5G can be optimized to preserve signal strength. Whether you’re designing plastic matrix composite components or dielectric layers in CCLs, 3M provides a range of solutions to help tailor the dielectric properties for the performance you need in your specific 5G applications.

      Resin additives like 3M™ Glass Bubbles provide attractive dielectric constant (Dk) and dissipation factor (Df) values for a stronger and clearer 5G signal in plastics and composites used for a variety of applications, including radome boxes and antenna covers.

      Our selection of low-loss fluoropolymers for plastics and composite applications enable high velocity and transfer speeds, reduced signal transmission power loss and improved SNRs compared to other polymers and additives.

      Products:

      3M™ Glass Bubbles

      3M™ Fluoropolymers

    • Temperature gauge icon

      Manage increased heat across communications infrastructure with thermal grease, thermal tapes and other innovations from 3M. Our solutions help with dispersing heat from antennas, base band units and your other key devices and components, so you can keep your equipment running longer and provide the speed customers need.

      For your applications such as antenna boxes, antenna arrays and PCB CCLs, 3M™ Boron Nitride Cooling Fillers (BNCFs) can help you enable improved thermal performance and signal transmission. BNCFs are intended to increase thermal conductivity and limit RF absorption properties in 5G components. Boron nitride-filled material features excellent dielectric properties including low Dk and Df to help maintain 5G signal strength and integrity.

      For antenna boxes, BNCFs enable lighter-weight heat sinks that also help reduce signal loss from inside the box. Soon, there may not need to be a heat sink — your antenna box will do everything the heat sink does without the need for an extra component.

      Depending on your specific assembly, engineered fluids can also dissipate heat effectively and efficiently. 3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids are dielectric fluids specially formulated to cool down components in a range of 5G applications such as antenna heat sink fins.

      Future innovations from 3M address both signal interference and heat in the latest high-frequency millimeter wave (mmWave) transmitters. As units become smaller and work harder, our upcoming high thermal conductivity hybrid mmWave absorber materials can help protect incoming and outgoing signals from interference and dissipate heat.

      Products:

      3M™ Boron Nitrate Cooling Fillers

      3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids

    • Electrical wiring and cables icon

      Your goal is to improve connectivity — 3M can help. We have technologies originally developed for data centers that can potentially change the way you approach high-speed data transfer across 5G infrastructure — that’s 3M science working for you.

      As edge computers move to 5G base stations or customer premises, thin and foldable copper-based 3M™ Twin Axial Cables enable high-speed communication and offer unique cable management and thermal benefits — all while reducing latency and maintaining signal integrity.

      More nodes and faster speeds mean more fibers going to base stations and towers. That means more connections susceptible to transmission interruptions. 3M™ Expanded Beam Optical Interconnect solutions utilize expanded beam optical technology to create a reliable, dust- and contamination-resistant connection, helping you reduce overall time of installation and limiting downtime.

      Products:

      3M™ Twin Axial Cables

      3M™ Expanded Beam Optical Interconnect

    • Feather icon

      As more base stations and other 5G communications assemblies are implemented, demand grows for less weight in every component — 3M materials can help.

      Solutions like 3M Glass Bubbles, which can be used as additives for low-loss plastics and composite materials, feature extremely high crush strengths to withstand extrusion and injection molding processes. Blended with resins in 5G composite production, 3M Glass Bubbles can help you cut resin costs while reducing part weight from 15% to 40%.

      Shed more weight with foam conductive gaskets. Suitable for many different applications — from small cells to repeaters — gaskets from 3M can replace screws, helping you cut assembly time, helping you cut costs.

      Products:

      3M™ Glass Bubbles

      3M™ Boron Nitrate Cooling Fillers

    • Eye icon

      High-performance 5G antenna structures — both indoors and outdoors — should both meet the needs of next-generation signal speed and look good doing it. Solutions from 3M include additives for paints and coatings, radio frequency (RF)-transparent materials and more that can help with visual pollution.

      3M Glass Bubbles for 5G can be added to paints and coatings and contain far fewer imperfections than those for standard industrial use. Base station assemblies can now exist in different environments — from historical to modern — and stand up to outdoor weathering, all while enabling a strong 5G signal.

      For radome boxes, 3M™ Print Wrap Film for Wireless Equipment Camouflage is a digitally printed solution that helps blend wireless infrastructure into the surrounding built environment. Solutions are easy to install and resist water, soil, UV light and graffiti, without affecting signal transmission.

      The future is clear.

      Upcoming camouflage film from 3M is designed to enable transition from unsightly antennas to transparent designs, without sacrificing 5G signal strength. Currently in development, the highly efficient metal grid material will allow for new antennas in locations where aesthetics is an issue, accelerating coverage.

      Contact us to learn more about upcoming camouflage film from 3M.

      Products:

      3M™ Glass Bubbles

      3M™ Print Wrap Film for Wireless Equipment Camouflage


Featured solutions for infrastructure

  • 3M is now designing 3M™ Glass Bubbles specifically with 5G in mind. These small, strong and light bubbles enable the development of low-loss materials and are a critical factor in helping companies deliver a faster, more reliable 5G signal.

  • A low-dielectric filler used in polymer materials to help engineers tailor to a target Dk and Df value while also optimizing thermal properties both in-plane and through-plane for heat dissipation.


Telecommunications network solutions

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  • Telecom worker fixing cell tower network

    As you update antennas for 5G or build new structures, make sure assemblies are properly equipped to handle passive intermodulation (PIM) — and look good doing it. Upcoming materials from 3M can be added to both new and existing antennas and are intended to help you improve the SNR in radio access networks and make antennas more visually appealing in different environments.


    • Wireless access point icon

      When RF energy couples into metal structural elements, it will encounter non-linear artifacts such as poor metal-to-metal connections creating unwanted noise, otherwise known as conductive PIM. This noise results in performance issues and reduced wireless coverage for end users. Future solutions from 3M can help with external conductive PIM mitigation so you can improve signal integrity and deliver a better experience for wireless customers.

      The upcoming 3M™ PIM Reduction Kit 1000 ushers in a new era of PIM mitigation by absorbing PIM rather than shielding, while also allowing for easier installation, zero site downtime and no antenna impediment or adjustment. Magnetic absorbers are placed adjacent to noise sources (e.g. mounting brackets) and are protected by weatherproofing tapes, so you can address signal quality — while standing up to the elements — with one simple solution.

    Key PIM reduction resources

    • Eye icon

      New antennas — whether they’re indoors, outdoors, on vehicles or elsewhere — shouldn’t be an eyesore. Our upcoming metal grid film is conformable, transparent and lightweight, enabling see-through antenna designs with significant power. Through 3M innovation, you can now install antennas in locations previously deemed inaccessible due to aesthetics, accelerate network deployments and improve in-building coverage.

      Products:

      3M™ Print Wrap Film for Wireless Equipment Camouflage


Device materials

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  • Dark-haired woman looking at 5G optimized tablet

    The opportunities for 5G-optimized device assemblies seem endless — and 3M is on it. We bring innovative material options for polymer matrix composites (PMCs), antenna splits, automotive applications and more, so you can be sure that your next-generation design — from the one in your hand or behind the wheel — is built to handle new demands.


    • Wireless access point icon

      Make sure your device — from smartphones to automobile interiors — are built for the future of wireless connectivity. Materials from 3M are formulated at the molecular level to have excellent structural properties and help you deliver improved 5G signal transmission for an array of applications.

      When used as a resin additive, 3M Glass Bubbles for 5G can help reduce Dk and Df in composites, help improve dimensional stability and prevent warpage, even for materials like liquid crystal polymers (LCPs). Future 3M Glass Bubbles are being designed with improvements in key areas including improved Df response (while maintaining Dk), smaller sizes for better fitting and more.

      Thinner design without compromising stiffness and protection — 3M™ Nextel™ Ceramic Fibers are a high-modulus, RF-transparent solution for 5G devices that bring benefits for both signal and design possibilities.

      Products:

      3M™ Glass Bubbles

      3M™ Nextel™ Ceramic Fibers

    • Temperature gauge icon

      Keep devices cool — both in your pocket and in your automobile cabin — and get 5G-enabling performance. From fillers for epoxy, polycarbonates (PCs), fluoropolymers, PPA, silicone and other resins, to solutions for electronic control units (ECUs), we’ve got you covered.

      Products like BNCFs can increase thermal conductivity and limit RF absorption properties in 5G components. Boron nitride-filled materials feature excellent dielectric properties including low Dk and Df to help maintain 5G signal strength and integrity. BNCFs also work for heat-spreading foils and sheets, or as part of thermal interface materials (TIM) for thermal coupling.

      Products:

      3M™ Boron Nitrate Cooling Fillers

    • Space saving design form factor icon

      With devices getting smaller and smaller, materials need to accommodate thinner and lighter-weight designs while also providing an RF-transparent solution. With metal-like performance, 3M Nextel Ceramic Fibers are a high-modulus, RF-transparent solution for 5G devices that allow you to achieve a thinner design without compromising stiffness and protection in PMCs.

      Blended with resins, 3M Glass Bubbles can help you withstand extrusion and injection molding processes of complex device designs such as housings, frames or antenna splits.

      Products:

      3M™ Glass Bubbles

      3M™ Nextel™ Ceramic Fibers


  • A cell phone signal transmission tower

    Get more out of your Copper Clad Laminates with materials from 3M. CCLs are the foundation to the PCBs in base stations and other assemblies in 5G communications infrastructure and devices. At every layer you’ll find opportunities to improve signal transmission, manage heat and more.


    • Wireless access point icon

      Achieving lower dielectric loss at high frequencies is key for 5G signal strength and integrity — 3M provides many different material options that can help.

      3M Glass Bubbles as a CCL resin additive allows you to tailor CCLs to specific Dks for lower signal transmission power loss and improved SNRs. You can also design CCLs for a low Df which helps improve data velocity.

      With a low dissipation factor, boron nitride-filled compounds allow for optimal signal transmission in CCL applications, in addition to the heat dissipation benefits.

      Low-loss materials also include fluorinated materials such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which delivers excellent low dielectric properties and low-loss factors, ideal for preserving the clarity and strength of high frequencies, and an innovative raw silica-like material that can be added to resin systems used in 5G networks.

      Products:

      3M™ Glass Bubbles

      3M™ Fluoropolymers

      3M™ Boron Nitride Cooling Fillers

      3M™ Fused Silica

    • Temperature gauge icon

      More layers mean more heat — don’t sacrifice performance. BNCFs are a resin additive that can help with managing heat and provide electrical insulation for 5G CCLs. With a low dissipation factor, boron nitride-filled compounds allow for optimal signal transmission.

      Products:

      3M™ Boron Nitrate Cooling Fillers


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