5G is here! The next generation in cellular network technology and mobile internet connectivity is now being introduced to the public with large scale companies such as EE offering promises of faster and more reliable connections on smartphones and other digital devices.
Combining state of the art network technology and the latest research, through intelligent networks and applications 5G will allegedly provide connections that are multitudes faster than those currently, with average download speeds of around 1GBps, providing an almost instant connection (For example, 5G will enable users to download a high-def film in under one second as opposed to the 10+ minutes it currently takes on 4G.)
We can assume that the presence of 5G will be generating an immense amount of data and as a result will also place huge demands on wired infrastructure. Before 5G networks become established, the network infrastructure must have the capabilities to not only support thousands of devices and the data collected and transmitted by these devices, but they must do so reliably and continuously.
It is clear that the copper-based infrastructures that have supported connectivity for so long will simply not be able to keep up with 5G bandwidth demands and therefore in order to achieve all that 5G offers, a denser, fibre-rich network infrastructure will be required in order to provide; lower latency, longer battery life, higher data rates, ultra-high reliability and more connected devices.
The range of a typical 4G macro cell, in use today, theoretically can cover 10 square miles. While actual deployment needs would vary, it has been planned for 5G to have as many as 60 small cells covering one square mile.
Optical fibre is the preferred medium for existing wireless backhaul networks. It’s increased speeds with lower attenuation, immunity to electromagnetic interference, small size, and virtually unlimited bandwidth potential are among the many reasons why fibre is the right choice.
With the densification of small cells growing not only for the requirements of 5G but also for those of 3G and 4G, the generation of fibre optic cabling and its connection points along these networks will accelerate at a rapid rate.
The opportunities that will come from 5G depend heavily on real-time data making lower latency and higher bandwidth more critical than ever. driven by the cycle of consumer demand new applications and bolstered infrastructure fibre demand continues to spiral upward.
5G could definitely be an evolution (if not a revolution) of today's networks but its impact on network cabling will likely be even more significant. The possibilities could be limitless, but we do know that an intelligent fibre-based infrastructure will be essential to making the vision real.