5G Small Cell Concealment In Urban Areas
As the demand for 5G speeds increases across the world, unique challenges are being faced by telecom companies as they attempt to satisfy their customers’ demands while still being respectful to city and county aesthetics. This is especially the case in densely packed urban areas with thousands of users wanting to utilize 5G networks without having spotty coverage areas or worse having no connectivity at all. The challenges are relatively simple to understand, but the solutions are technologically complex. 5G networks rely heavily on small cell sites to provide connectivity, due to the higher frequencies that are used in the process and the inherent propagation loss that comes with those frequencies. ISD (inter-site distances) for many of the current 5G mmWave radios have been shown to have limitations of one tenth of a mile, translating to a simple issue: a large number of small cell sites are needed to provide 5G coverage in these regions. These sites also need to be positioned closer to the ground than previous iterations of networks, meaning that they are placed within the visual plane of thousands of users. From a usage standpoint the answer is simply to integrate the equipment into the positions necessary to provide good coverage. From an aesthetic standpoint the solutions are more difficult, as this equipment must be blended into unique regions in a way that does not conflict with the aesthetics of the area. Especially in historic regions, this can be challenging.
One of the most obvious solutions to the issues of equipment concealment in a pleasing and unobtrusive manner is to use the existing lighting poles in a right of way, integrating the equipment within the structure or covering it externally. Street lighting poles present this opportunity in nearly every urban environment, allowing for the effective concealment of AC and DC-powered 5G mmWave as well as 4G antennas and radios. These concealment options can also hide the AC disconnect functions needed for each location, and containing effective surge protection devices and other telecom infrastructure equipment. The STEALTH concealed small cell pole by Raycap accomplishes these goals while also maintaining the aesthetic integrity of an area. Through the use of “pole toppers” the antenna and necessary equipment that relies upon clear signal receipt and transmission can be positioned at the top of the structure. Raycap’s unique and patent-pending InvisiWave® material can be used in the concealment process as 4G and even 5G mmWave signals are unaffected by it. Concealment of the 5G mmWave radios and antennas is one of the biggest challenges of the small cell concealment process. Through the top positioning and the use of InvisiWave, not only is the pole more visually appealing, it can also achieve optimal performance.
STEALTH concealed or partially concealed small cell poles allow for integration into the urban environment in a way that meets the required coverage patterns while still allowing for future upgrades. The pole toppers (or radomes) are able to host different brands of 5G mmWave radios and are also backwards compatible with lower frequency brands as well. They allow for orientations of radios and antennas to be different as necessary, along with these radios being mounted on different levels or back-to-back. The outcome is a technically advanced solution that advances the use of 5G coverage without destroying the visual integrity of any area.