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5G networks look to new frequencies to deliver gigabit speeds

Mikael Ricknäs | June 26, 2015
The telecommunications industry is looking for new frequencies in which to operate a new generation of mobile networks.

A final decision on what if any bands will be allocated isn't expected until 2019.

After technical and regulatory challenges have been overcome, the networks also have to be rolled out. If extreme speeds are the upside of frequencies over 6GHz, poor coverage is the downside. These high frequencies don't have good reach and aren't very much use if you want to penetrate walls. To get around these weaknesses, mobile operators will have to install lots of smaller base stations -- but finding enough places to put even the current generation of small-cell base stations has already proved difficult.

So taking full advantage of spectrum bands above 6GHz won't be easy, but if equipment and device vendors want 5G to become something more than an incremental upgrade over the LTE networks that exist in 2020, all technical and political challenges have to be overcome.

The first commercial networks using 5G technologies are expected to go live in 2020, but will initially use spectrum below 6GHz because the infrastructure is already out there for those bands, according to DeFazio: Networks using the new frequency bands will only arrive later.

 

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