“5G,” or 5th Generation, refers to the next iteration of mobile networks which are expected to provide gigabit speeds, ultra-high capacity, and ultra-low latency. But even without 5G, existing mobile networks are being upgraded with the deployment of additional antennae or “cells,” also known as cell densification.
5G will use a range of spectrum, including very high frequencies. Because 5G will rely in large part on high radio frequencies—which carry commensurately large amounts of data but have limited range—large numbers of small 5G radios, or “cells,” will be required, and those small cells will require a substantial amount of fiber.
We estimate that 1,390,816 MILES OF FIBER CABLE would be required to provide full 5G service to just the TOP 25 metropolitan land areas in the United States, assuming all of those 5G cells were served by fiber connections.
The most demanding 5G applications will require fiber to each small cell, but the exact fiber cable requirements for each deployment will differ based on local geography and expected demand.
While 5G WILL TRANSFORM MOBILE CONNECTIVITY, it is not an easy replacement for wired connections to homes and businesses because common building materials substantially block high-frequency 5G signals.
Using 5G technologies to reach building interiors can be achieved using antennas on the outside of the building and a wire to carry the signal inside the building, incurring additional costs and energy usage. Direct fiber connections will always be superior, except where fiber installation is not feasible.
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