While “out of sight out of mind” is certainly the mindset that drives the use of specific enclosures such as street cabinets that hide the existence of telecom equipment, it is not primarily driving the need behind concealment of small cell 5G components. While the creation of a visual landscape that is not dominated by the equipment used in the process of keeping us connected is a motivating factor, the consistency and equipment used under that concealment structure as well as the ability to easily access or disconnect it quickly is also a factor. With the advent of 5G technology we as citizens will have a better experience with regards to the speed of information download and streaming to our devices, but we may do so at the expense of landscape and aesthetics sometimes. The previous generations of connectivity equipment set the standard that we’re used to with placement of radios and antenna at the tops of towers in a distributed base station architecture that can communicate some distance – a mile or more – while ultimately providing a good cell phone signal. We have grown used to the visual aspect of a cellular tower or equipment every mile or so and understood that the “blight” on the landscape was necessary in order to provide convenience and coverage. 5G technology provides far faster speeds, but the distances between installations must be placed at far shorter distances due to the different signal and frequencies. The desire for faster download speeds means people will need to get used to the mounting and installation of far more equipment, equipment that will be placed closer together and almost at street level in many cases. Simply put, this creates a situation where we will be better connected but the landscape becomes dominated by the equipment providing that connection. Through both unique technology as well as innovative concealment techniques, operators have developed both standardized and completely unique methods of placing the equipment used in the 5G process “out of sight.”
Structures are identified as being in the correct place and position in order to provide the nodes for 5G equipment used in a network. These structures are chosen due to their placement distances from the other small cell sites, as signal degradation creates “dead spots” where signal strength reduces dramatically. This creates a situation where 5G equipment must be positioned within or connected to structures that already exist in a specific place. If that structure offers a high point like the roof of a building, the challenge becomes ways of placing that equipment on top the building so as to provide 5G coverage. Another way might be to mount the 5G equipment in a concealed box that is made to match existing architecture and mount it on the side of a building. Through the use of innovative techniques as well as materials that allow the 5G mmWave signals to pass through with little to no degradation of the signal, the goal is always to place the equipment where it is not going to be noticed. If the equipment cannot be hidden inside a structure, then the creation of a housing that mounts to the structure externally but still blends into the totality of the landscape is preferrable. Raycap, utilizing it’s STEALTH product line as well as unique materials like InvisiWave® allows 5G mmWave equipment to be appropriately and beautifully concealed while also providing the best signal strength necessary.