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5G will ultimately transform many industries. However, there will be obstacles relating to the network rollouts across the U.S., as the technological path of least resistance (small cells) continues to encounter hurdles
FREMONT, CA: Verizon recently launched its 5G Home service, which allows consumers in test cities to give up cable and fiber optic internet connection and instead rely solely on wireless delivery. And each of the major U.S. cell carriers also has deployments that are ready to go or in production.
For 5G to spread across the country, providers must overcome substantial infrastructure and cost issues. Carriers need to be creative and efficient in how they utilize the physical space already in place or come up with ways to increase their points of presence. Additionally, the issue is aggravated by protestors and legislator concerns, condemning carrier efforts to implement small cell technology that can serve as the support system. Small cells are considered necessary for 5G because networks are likely to operate over millimeter-wave frequency bands, which do not disseminate as well over long distances compared to frequencies most commonly used for 4G or LTE.
Massive MIMO (multiple inputs, multiple outputs) is becoming more prevalent as a way to resolve the issue. This technology has been available for years and is mainly a bundling of multiple antennas by the same source and held on the same physical bar on the tower. The antennas are, at the same time, becoming more powerful and smaller, which means that they can be combined into Massive MIMO arrangements and deployed on existing infrastructures.
Companies offering network function virtualization (NFV) technology can alert carriers to increases in network traffic and automatically reroute as needed to ensure cell and data connections aren’t lost or reduced.
Another concern relating to small cell and 5G is the high cost of a complete small-cell deployment for in-building cellular connectivity involving multiple carriers or multiple frequency bands. To reduce the cost, carriers often partner to deploy a distributed antenna system (DAS) that supports radio frequencies for all carriers and increase signal through corresponding antennas spread across the venue.
Hybrid DAS solution is sometimes a better option over small cells, which only offers compatibility with a single mobile carrier or up to two frequency bands in a unit. If all mobile carriers opt into the network, it can create major hardware costs. Implementing DAS to feed the signal from all carriers through small cells can properly cover in-building 5G networks at a more affordable cost. To tackle the issues, Massive MIMO and a hybrid DAS solution are two ways that can help meet the promise of 5G in every U.S. city.
See Also: Top Virtualization Solution Companies
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