Everyone is talking about the latest trend in wireless communication: 5G. We know 5G is the next generation after the advent of 4G to the world. 5G is supposed to be a lot faster and have much better connectivity than 4G. However, you might not know how 5G works and what is used in setting up a 5G network.
For this reason, we are here to tell you everything you need to know about 5G. Firstly, you need to know that the 5G network uses something called small cells. Therefore, let’s know more about 5G small cells in depth and know how it will affect smartphone radiations.
It should be made clear that cell towers are absolutely important for a network. Similarly, we need cell towers for a 5G network as well. Thus, we also need a 5G tower for a 5G network to work.
The main difference between a 4G and 5G network in the setup is in their towers. The difference is both, physically and functionally. Interestingly, 5G towers are much smaller than the 4G towers. However, they cover a much longer distance than the 4G towers. Apart from that, the 5G spectrums are also different. This means that 5G operates on a totally different part of the radio spectrum as compared to 2G, 3G or 4G.
5G Small Cells: Explained
Basically, 5G small cells are similar to what 4G towers. However, they are called small cells due to their small size. A 5G small cell is a base station from which the overall network is handled. On the other hand, 4G towers are named as “macrocells”.
Also, 5G towers are energy efficient so they can be made relatively small. Now, the efficiency is important because you can even set up 5G towers where 4G towers were not possible. 5G small cells have high-frequency millimeter waves, which have a limited range.
Talking about the tinyness of 5G towers, we can say that 5G towers are just like small boxes. It is known that some network operators are even trying to set up 5G towers under manhole covers. This tells you much about the space efficiency of 5G towers. Also, this helps in connectivity on the roads as well.
If you think that small cells are weak then you are wrong. Because the tech inside these 5G small cells is what allows 5G to be so fast. Also, it allows the next wave of devices to connect to the internet.
On the inside of a 5G small cell, there is radio equipment necessary for transmitting data to and from connected devices. Also, these radio equipment inside small cells is highly directional. Thus, it uses a technique called beamforming to direct attention to very specific areas around the tower.
Interestingly, these small cells are capable of power adjustment according to usage as well. Therefore, you don’t need to implement load management on these devices which are a huge bonus.
The best example of this when a radio is not in use, it will drop down into a lower power state in just a few milliseconds, and then re-adjust just as quickly when more power is needed.
5G small cells are also very easy to set up and take very little time too. It is reported that 5G small cells take just a couple of hours to be up and running. Compare this to 4G networks which take days to set up and run properly, this is a major achievement.
It is obvious that 5G small cells require power source as well as backhaul to connect it to the carrier’s 5G network. A carrier can decide if they want to connect to 5G small cells with the help of wired fiber connection or a wireless microwave connection.
Locations of 5G towers
Now comes the big question of where will the 5G towers be located? We have already mentioned that the 5G towers are compact in nature. They can even be fitted inside manholes. 5G towers are also well-equipped to be fitted on light poles, on tops of buildings, and even street lights.
This also means that you will no longer see traditional giant towers. But it will also mean that you see 5G towers anywhere and everywhere.
However, not everything is rosy about 5G networks. One of the drawbacks of 5G small cells is that they have short distance or range.
Thus, you need to set up 5G small cells at a shorter distance to each other. This ensures that the connection is appropriate on all the locations.
Another major drawback about 5G small cells is that they require a direct line of sight with the receiving device. This means the small cells need to see the device they are connecting with. There should not be any obstacle in between the device and towers.
So if you plan to replace your broadband internet to 5G, you will most definitely have to place a 5G cell tower down the street from your house. This is essential for 5G networks at the moment. Once a 5G network is set up, you can use your WiFi which works even without a direct line of sight.
The 5G rollout is expected to happen in between 2019 and 2020. After that, carriers will roll out 5G coverage maps. However, reports suggest that they won’t exactly show where the tower is placed. But as we mentioned earlier, it is easy to spot a 5G small cell around us.