5G, the fifth generation of broadband cellular communication, is set to become the world’s predominant network type. 5G infrastructure is necessary to facilitate the newest, fastest type of communications network.
Any cellular communications infrastructure requires an expansive network of transmission equipment. The transmission equipment creates the Radio Access Network (RAN), which connects signals from the core network to the end user.
5G infrastructure features standalone RAN components that operate within an independent core network. The 5G core network manages data connections and services like virtualization and slicing.
5G also uses non-standalone components initially developed for 4G LTE transmission. Existing 4G LTE infrastructure can handle some 5G transmission, but standalone infrastructure unlocks 5G’s full potential for data capacity and speed.
5G transmission relies on New Radio (NR) signals that use millimeter waves (mmWave) that are higher in frequency than past generations. Though 5G can transmit more data faster, an NR signal’s shorter wavelength limits how far it can travel. 5G performs the best with standalone infrastructure with higher quantities of input and output (I/O) antennas. Increasing I/O antenna availability extends the signal’s reach and enables transmission around physical barriers like trees, buildings and mountain ranges.
Essential Components of 5G Infrastructure
Standalone 5G infrastructure requires the installation of a few RAN components. These parts carry signals between end users and carriers:
- Macrocells: Base station towers use multiple I/O antennas to increase range, capacity and speed.
- Small cells: Discrete base stations blend with the natural environment and amplify the macrocells’ signals.
- Optical fiber: Cables aid 5G connectivity through underground wired data transmission.
Common Challenges Associated With Establishing 5G Infrastructure
The demand for 5G will continue to rise as businesses and consumers experience the benefits of network virtualization and slicing. However, there are a few challenges to overcome before 5G can reach its full potential. The most significant challenge to overcome is establishing an independent 5G infrastructure. Building an independent 5G infrastructure is challenging for these reasons:
- Installing macrocells, small cells and optical fibers: The mmWave’s short range means carriers must install more macrocells than previous generations required. Additionally, 5G will require 20 or more small cells for every square mile. Wired 5G transmission will require additional underground fiber optics.
- Accessing land for development: Carriers must find land to install new macrocells and small cells. In some cases, carriers will purchase the land, but they must acquire right-of-way from property owners for many installations.
- Managing the cost of component installation and land acquisition: Developing new equipment, acquiring land for installations and performing the installation work costs money. A macrocell tower may cost $200,000 to install, while small cells each cost around $10,000. Additional optical fibers will require $130 billion to $150 billion in U.S. investments.
Land Acquisition Simplified
Efficient transitions to 5G infrastructure are possible with the right help. SelectROW offers easement services to keep your 5G project on schedule and under budget. Our experience and resources enable us to deliver true value. We can optimize your 5G infrastructure installation process by offering:
- Efficient work from experienced professionals.
- Clear, consistent communication with your organization, property owners and other stakeholders.
- Insightful recommendations based on our extensive telecommunications project management experience.
- Ethical practices that maintain positive relationships between your organization and the community.
- Powerful technology that provides real-time metrics and documentation within a user-friendly interface.
Request a Proposal
SelectROW can help your organization satisfy the market’s demand for strong 5G networks. We offer a wide range of services like routing and siting, land acquisition, project management and stakeholder engagement to streamline your 5G infrastructure development processes. Please request a proposal online to discuss your project.