From the EDN Network:

Brian Santo -February 15, 2019


As network operators furtively roll out 5G services, the cellular communications industry is learning about 5G on the fly, finding one unexpected challenge after another. It’s more difficult than they had anticipated, and in response they’re incurring greater startup costs than they’d originally budgeted for.

One ray of sunshine: millimeter wave (mmWave) signals are more robust than many had feared. So far it seems the worries about rain fade and soft obstructions, such as foliage, were overblown.

A critical element of 5G is virtualizing the network, with the goal of making communications networks endlessly configurable to suit the various and changing needs of network users. On-demand network reconfigurability creates a need to make sure that each new configuration is delivering what was ordered. By definition, testing in advance is not possible.

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5G has qualities new to cellular communications, including network configurability and lower latency that presage innumerable potential new uses, but the first impression most people are going to have of 5G is going to be with familiar telephony and broadband services. It would be bad for carriers if phone and internet on 5G networks aren’t appreciably better than they are on 4G. Services on 5G had better not be worse.

Carriers are consequently calling on their T&M partners to extend their test capabilities from the lab into the network itself, to a) make sure the technology works when installed and b) new services perform as advertised when they’re spun up…..SNIP

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Read the full article here:

Also read:

5G buildout will be more involved than we’ve been led to believe

Brian Santo December 19, 2018


From the moment that the wireless industry decided it would make use of higher frequencies for 5G transmission, everyone has known spectrum would have some ramifications for those deployment plans. One issue, it turns out, will probably not be that big of a deal, the other somewhat more consequential, but neither is addressed very often. Both derive from what’s commonly known: the higher the frequency of a wireless signal, the less well it propagates and the less able it is to penetrate obstacles. So as a practical matter:

  1. In contrast to deploying 3G and 4G, deploying 5G will require distinct indoor and outdoor strategies.
  2. 5G base stations will have to be spaced more closely, necessitating more of them, especially in densely populated areas.
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