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5G Networks and Spectrum Policies

Posted by Scott Resnick on Tue, Sep 12, 2017

In June 2017, the White House hosted a “Tech Week” with a focus on determining how the United States could remain one of the world’s tech leaders. Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer at T-Mobile, said that America could stay in the forefront of technological innovation by developing and deploying 5G networks as soon as possible. Although 5G will take over phones in years and not mere months, the policies that will affect the development and implementation of this new system are already being considered.

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You might ask, then, what is 5G and how will it differ from 4G networks? To start, 5G networks will have higher bandwidths, along with increased battery life and advanced interconnectedness between information systems and Internet-connected devices. But like 4G, wireless carriers must upgrade their infrastructures to operate 5G networks functionally on a large-scale. Additionally, for 5G to function, carriers will also need to upgrade their spectrum pipelines. Here, we’ll describe spectrums and consider why they matter in the upcoming 5G roll out.

What is a spectrum?

Wireless communications travel over radio frequencies, which are also known as the spectrum. Each device, from your smartphone to your TV broadcast, uses airwaves to transmit information. These spectrum frequencies are measured in megahertz and can only be transmitted for a certain distance. In wireless communications, different wireless carriers cannot transmit signals at the same spectrum. Additionally, the FCC gives companies rights to use different spectrums, as well as requiring spectrum ranges between 700 MHz and 2.6 GHz.

Spectrum and 5G

When rolled out, 5G networks will use more spectrum than what is currently available. Like in 4G and other wireless generations, 5G will require spectrum bands at multiple bands right away in order to be effective. Some of the spectrum options available currently include millimeter wave spectrum, which has a huge capacity but only a limited range. However, millimeter waves leave rural America out of the technological shift.

There are alternatives, however. One is a lower-band spectrum, which operates at 600 MHz and can travel longer distances. Additionally, mid-band spectrum offers medium distance and capacity, while high-band spectrum offers the highest capacity options. Carriers suggest that for 5G to be rolled out successfully over large distances and at a high capacity, they will need to have multiple band levels – from low to high – available from the FCC.

Like we mentioned, the 5G revolution is still several years out. But if you want to get ready now, TTI’s M3S-Cloud can prepare you for the future. Already, we’ve had clients who have stayed with us through several technological revolutions because of our system’s reliability and service, and we offer a future-proof promise that we’ll expertly update your system through the 5G roll out, too. Request a quote for your M3S-Cloud now to prepare for your 5G future today.

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Topics: Telecommunications, Cloud Communications

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