5G can be extremely beneficial to adaptive business operations, but like any new technology, CTOs and CIOs should be aware of the 5G challenges inherent in this tech. Specifically, three core challenges to be aware of as you consider integrating this tech into your business.
Firstly, it’s important to understand the 5G signal will be delivered in a much broader range of frequencies ranging from traditional low-band frequencies, but also sub-6GHz and mmWave. The higher the frequency, the shorter the distance it travels. In addition, the signal becomes more susceptible to interference as it struggles to penetrate objects like buildings, cars and trees.
Challenge 1: Reach
While it’s true speeds are much greater, 5G challenges take the form of faster degradation of signal. In order to accommodate higher bandwidth and speed, 5G tower technology doesn’t have the reach of traditional cell towers.
It is true that some 5G capability will be carried on the same low-band frequencies that 3G and 4G used, but this version of 5G is only expected to slightly faster than current 4G networks. The greatest speeds and lowest latency will be realized on much higher frequencies which will not travel the same distances.
Where low-band signals can easily travel 10s of miles some Sub6Ghz and mmWave signals will be limited to 10s to 100s of meters. This means one of the 5G challenges to be aware of is reach, which can break your integration strategy.
Challenge 2: Signal Degradation
One of the other 5G challenges is signal degradation. Because Sub 6Ghz and mmWave don’t penetrate or travel as far as low-band signals towers will need to be placed much closer in proximity. It doesn’t matter if operations are in the country or large metropolitan city, each has its own challenges.
In the country, for example, CIOs may experience interference from large mountains, areas of dense foliage, or even wide-open lands with minimal populations where the cost to put large amounts of towers or small cells is not cost-effective.
In metropolitan areas, 5G challenges exist in the form of interference from large buildings, densely packed electrical or communication lines and even traffic signals! (Go figure, not only do traffic signals drive you crazy on your commute, but they are known interference offenders!)
Challenge 3: Tower hardline connection
5G challenges also percolate from a bad brew of hardlines powering the actual towers. Many CTOs are shocked to know, that while the tower itself is capable of 5G speed, the connection to the tower, may not be up to snuff.
Obviously, if the connection to the tower is sub-par then the tower speeds won’t support a true 5G speed. Carriers should run fiber to their existing towers and all of the new small cells being deployed for 5G—but this isn’t always the case because of the large financial undertaking.
Testing for 5G Challenges
For this reason, it’s vital to conduct a thorough test of 5G connectivity and fully understand the 5G challenges you could be facing in your area long before rolling out your 5G integration plan.
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