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The Pros (and Cons) of 5G Networks—Part 2

5G network

As I mentioned in an earlier column, for all that is talked about 5G, it is far from being a ubiquitous service across the country. Along with all the hype and fanfare about 5G networks, there have also been some negative articles about the rollout of 5G networks, and we should address those concerns, though they are often rooted in fear rather than scientific fact.

From an industry standpoint, many factors make 5G networks a superior service offering compared to 4G networks. Faster speeds and instantaneous service are two big features along with the ability to handle greater traffic and more network devices. 

Ultimately, to compete in a global market, the United States needs cutting-edge mission critical infrastructure especially when it comes to high-speed broadband connectivity and implementing the internet of things as service offerings in all regions. We need to understand the new demands on the fabric of the network infrastructure and whether or not it can take the increasing traffic loads from more devices on both network and system capacities.

Some skeptics are raising concerns over serious health issues with 5G networks and the generation of micro radiation from transmissions? However, the jury is still out on these claims. Any new technology should be thoroughly examined to see if there’s potential health risks for user. To add any network capability that is to have huge adverse effects on people makes no sense especially in the age of cross-country, class-action lawsuits.

Real Comparisons of 4G and 5G Network Technology

5G networks are more complex than 4G networks and they provide capabilities not found in 4G networks. 

CAPABILITY

4G NETWORKS

5G NETWORKS

SIGNAL LENGTH

10 Miles

1,000 Feet *

Speed

Download 5-12Mbps, Upload 2-5Mbps 

100X-120X FASTER

Download a Movie

5 Minutes

.5 Minute

Signal delivery

Some lag time

Instantaneous

With this shift in network speeds, new applications can be developed and implemented to the masses on various subscriber platforms and various network applications. However, with all the hype of 5G networks offering fast speeds, it will also have to handle hundreds of new devices and new traffic patterns to those devices. 

Also, faster speeds can only be obtained by shorter transmission distances. Many more antenna points and transmission facilities are needed because the distance that the 5G signal can travel is greatly reduced at much higher speeds.

More equipment

U.S. network infrastructure lags behind that of other countries and needs to be updated across the country in order to compete globally as well as attract and maintain corporate employers. 

It cannot be overlooked when it comes to federal spending on infrastructure improvements. It is just as important as any traditional road, bridge and highway project. Some federal money should be earmarked to be spent on network upgrades in cities and rural areas.

More antennae and other transmission equipment will be needed in order to support 5G networks throughout the United States. Adding antennae, underground fiber optics and more transmission nodes will require many electrical contractors to help build-out the faster network. Employment should be solid in the next several years as this latest iteration of cellular networks is rolled out into the market space.

As to individual equipment, the only smartphones that are 5G-ready are the Samsung Galaxy 10, the Moto Z3 and the LG V50 ThinQ. More smartphones and other network devices that will be 5G-ready will be in the market shortly.

This is also not the end for network carrier upgrades. More traffic will demand higher capacities in networks and faster delivery systems to both individual users as well as corporate customers. Network carriers should be busy for the next decade in upgrading their entire networks.

About the Author

James Carlini

Contributing Editor

James Carlini, MBA, is a strategist for mission-critical networks, technology and intelligent infrastructure. He has been the president of Carlini & Associates since 1986. He is author of "LOCATION LOCATION CONNECTIVITY," a visionary book on the...

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