September 15, 2020 – Advocates for the much-promoted 5G wireless standard last week explained that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the timetable for deployment.
“COVID-19 has just made the future sooner,” said Joe Reele, vice president of Schneider Electric. “Private 5G networks are going to be incredibly impactful.”
“There is more demand for infrastructure,” added Ryan Lepene, co-president of Pepper Tree Capital. And Leticia Latino van-Splunteren, CEO of Neptuno USA, Inc. pointed out that many businesses have changed their models accordingly to meet this demand.
Each were speaking at the 2020 conference of NEDAS, an industry-led nonpartisan association enabling communications infrastructure.
Some companies have instituted paired down versions of 5G networks called 5G non-standalone networks in preparation for the full rollout. These networks “combine an existing LTE channel for 5G signaling” with other newer developments in 56 explained Art King, director of enterprise services at Corning.
“5G is the first ‘G’ that is not just a faster radio network,” said King.
He explained that 5G builds on four technology building blocks that combine to meet eight technological goals and three user benefits.
The first four chief goals of 5G are to improve, by a factor of 10, the user experienced data rate, area traffic capacity, connection density, and latency. The other four goals have varying rates of improvement, with spectrum efficiency being three times more efficient than LTE, peak data rate improving by up to 20 times, network energy efficiency improving 100 times, and mobility improving from 350 to 500 km/hr.
Building blocks for 5G wireless technologies
Speakers at the NEDAS conference discussed the key building blocks for 5G technologies. They are the so-called 5G-NR (where “NR” stands for “new radio”), 5G Radio Access Network/5G standalone, ultra-reliable and low latency communications, and network slicing.
The 5G-NR standard is a descendant of the LTE air interface and has increased the wideband signal from 20 megahertz to 400 megahertz.
To do this, “we’ve had to open up frequency ranges in what’s called the millimeter wave to actually support that wideband signal,” said King.
The 3 GigaHertz (GHz) to 6 GHz range of the spectrum is “where the prime spectrum is,” said Shirish Nagaraj, chief technologist at Corning Optical Communications, “That’s what’s getting talked about in terms of CBRS, and going forward in C-Band as well.”
Importance of Radio Access Networks, dynamic spectrum sharing, and ultra-low latency
In 5G RAN/5G standalone all the data signals occur between the phone and the tower. Because the United States is so large, we can’t deploy this yet, “so we have to maintain a lot of compatibility and leverage the LTE core networks in place,” said King.
Dynamic spectrum sharing is one way of leveraging the LTE networks. While the LTE signals go off constantly and provide “blanket coverage,” Nagaraj explained, the NR signals “fit around” the LTE signals and don’t go off constantly, acting as a supplemental data channel.
The ultra-reliable and low-latency combination monitor refers to a collection of software and hardware techniques that enable high availability, low latency, and “in some cases, bounded jitter for critical application performance needs,” expounded King.
One of the main technologies included in this is yet another buzzword: Massive MIMO, for Multiple Input, Multi Output. After all, with full 5G, different signals transfer through multiple antennas. These signals are decoded by the user’s equipment.
Nagaraj pointed out that this technology “doubles or quadruples the capacity depending on the number of antennas that you’re using.”
Network slicing creates multiple virtual networks on top of a shared physical infrastructure, meaning that having access to a single physical network no longer means access to a single network. This capability is useful in the hospitals where the vast amount of equipment usually requires having multiple networks to ensure that everything runs smoothly.
Through these building blocks, users should experience enhanced mobile broadband (greater bandwidth), greater device density, and lower latency rates.
King urged users that when exploring 5G offers that they consider the underlying building blocks being used to deliver the service.
FCC Permit ‘Shot Clocks’ Provides ‘Predictability’ to Wireless Infrastructure Builds: T-Mobile
Shot clocks are important to industry players, argued T-Mobile’s Tim Halinski.
WASHINGTON, November 8, 2022 – Panelists on a Federal Communications Bar Association web panel discussed Monday whether benefits of the Federal Communications Commission’s “shot clocks,” which limit how long states and local governments can review wireless infrastructure applications, outweigh the increased pressures they place on state and local governments.
A shot clock’s deadline puts pressure on city officials’ negotiations with providers over the terms of infrastructure projects, said Nancy Werner, partner at Bradley Werner, LLC, a telecommunications legal and consulting firm. They also “put a lot of pressure on local governments…to make sure (they) have a reason to deny” a provider’s application if an agreement cannot be readily reached, Werner added.
Tim Halinski, corporate counsel for T-Mobile, argued Monday that shot clocks are important to industry players, although he acknowledged the validity of Werner’s concerns. T-Mobile and other providers benefit from expeditious permitting processes, as they look to accelerate the build out of 5G wireless technology.
“There’s no one size fits all,” Halinski said, “But it’s at least the starting point and provides that predictability in deployment that we need.”
The comments come as the FCC fields comments on new standards that would streamline the division of costs between third party attachers and pole owners. Critics say the financial and time delay burden in getting access to these poles have slowed and will slow the expansion of broadband in the country.
In 2018, the FCC instituted shortened shot clocks for small wireless infrastructure projects: “60 days for review of an application for collocation…using a preexisting structure and 90 days for review of an application for attachment…using a new structure.” The commission said the new, limited timeframes would facilitate the deployment of wireless infrastructure.
The FCC’s revised shot clocks for small wireless deployments was but one portion of the agency’s so-called “Small Cell Order” of 2018, which aimed to promote the expansion of 5G. To accomplish this goal, however, the order sought to eliminate regulatory roadblocks by limiting state and local governments’ authorities over wireless infrastructure permitting and their own rights of way. This tactic drew criticisms from many experts and local officials.
Nonetheless, in August 2020, the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals largely upheld the order in City of Portland v. United States.
“(The Ninth Circuit’s) decision is a massive victory for U.S. leadership in 5G, our nation’s economy and American consumers,” said then–FCC Chairman Ajit Pai shortly after the ruling. “The court rightly affirmed the FCC’s efforts to ensure that infrastructure deployment critical to 5G…is not impeded by exorbitant fees imposed by state and local governments.”
5G Demand Needs More Fiber Infrastructure, Conference Hears
‘We’re in the early innings now of this 5G evolution and really the fourth industrial revolution,’ said a Verizon partner.
DENVER, October 26, 2022 – More fiber deployment is “critical” to meet increasing demands for 5G, said a telecom executive at the 2022 INCOMPAS Show.
“[Fiber]’s where the industry is shifting and you’re going to have to shift with the industry,” Curtis Heffelfinger, vice president of wholesale sales at telecom Brightspeed, said on a Monday panel.
5G wireless builds will use fiber to many cell sites to deliver on the promise of ubiquitous connectivity in many areas. 5G technology promises faster cell speeds and lower latency – the time it takes for a communication to be sent from a device to a network and back.
“Today we’re in the early innings now of this 5G evolution and really the fourth industrial revolution,” said Jeff Hulse, vice president of Verizon Partner Solutions.
Industry incumbents are moving toward rapid expansion of fiber builds. Just last week, Bloomberg reported AT&T is in talks to initiate an eight-figure fiber-deployment project.
Hulse said his company is “thinking big about big bandwidth,” and although Verizon has “a ton of legacy products out there on copper wires,” the telecom giant is working to transition networks towards the future. Heffelfinger said Brightspeed is modernizing as well, although it also still owns many “aged assets.”
The INCOMPAS Show is a communications industry event that facilitates networking and business deals. The 2020 show, held in Denver, featured executives from Verizon, DISH, FiberLight, and other industry players, as well as officials from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and state broadband offices.
Johnny Kampis: Wireless Survey Shows 5G’s Role in Closing Digital Divide
5G has experienced a quantum leap in growth since it first began rolling out in 2018.
There was universal consensus that 5G wireless technology would be a game changer for closing the digital divide. The question was whether or not private investment would be enough to deploy the needed infrastructure. A new report shows that capital expenditures from wireless providers reached a record high in 2021, as 5G saw tremendous growth and will continue to help connect households now unserved by broadband.
CTIA’s 2022 Annual Wireless Industry Survey shows that wireless providers invested $35 billion into growing and improving their networks, the fourth consecutive year of industry growth.
CTIA said this is “a powerful trend that emphasizes the societal importance of wireless connectivity and underlines the industry’s commitment to building a robust platform for innovation that connects all communities.”
5G has experienced a quantum leap in growth since it first began rolling out in 2018, as infrastructure reforms that eased deployment barriers have resulted in 5G growing twice as fast as 4G. Since the Federal Communications Commission and state legislatures worked to modernize key siting regulations that could have stymied the technology’s growth, wireless providers have added 70,000 active cell sites. There are now nearly 420,000 operational cell sites across the U.S.
As CTIA notes, “More cell sites enhance coverage, encouraging adoptions and helping to close the digital divide.”
Clearly consumers want faster mobile internet speeds as the number of connective 5G devices grew more than a whopping 500 percent this past year from 14 million to Accenture 85 million. About one-third of American now possess an active 5G device.
CTIA points out that the number of connections that require wireless technology is helping fuel the growth – everything from smart watches to medical sensors. Such data-only devices represent about 42 percent of all wireless connections.
Wireless providers have invested nearly $121 billion into their networks since the launch of 5G.
CTIA notes that in an age of incredible inflation, the wireless industry’s investment, combined with increased market competition, has led to lower prices, “providing a welcome contrast to an economy where consumers have faced priced increases for 94 percent of tracked goods and services nationwide.”
Since 2010, the cost of unlimited data plans has declined 43 percent while wireless speeds have increased 85-fold over the same period.
Investment and competition have also led to new innovations such as 5G for home broadband and 5G fixed wireless. The latter is particularly useful in connecting rural areas where it’s hard to make a business case for fiber due to the cost of the last-mile connections. CTIA notes that 5G home broadband is available in more than 40 million households, providing home connections via spectrum with high capacity and low latency rather than a wired connection.
The report also points out that 5G is helping mitigate the impacts of climate change by creating green jobs in key industries. Accenture has found that 5G-enabled use cases should delivers 20 percent of the U.S.’s emission reduction targets by 2025.
5G is clearly helping usher in a new age of connectivity in this country. CTIA’s statistics are encouraging signs that the latest wireless technology is helping make broadband access available to more Americans than ever before. The best part of this growth is that taxpayer dollars are not being spent.
Johnny Kampis is director of telecom policy for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.
Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to email@example.com. The views reflected in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.
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