The Options For 5G Small Cell Concealment
The effective rollout of 5G mmWave networks depends on the ability to not only place small cell sites within one-tenth of a mile of one another to avoid dead areas, but also the ability to safely conceal these sites. The first issue is a technical one, brought about by the higher frequencies of 5G mmWave frequencies and the fact that they will exhibit increased propagation loss the farther distance they travel. This creates a significant limitation on the ISD (inter-site distances) that can be maintained and still provide complete coverage. Previous wireless generations were able to be placed higher on structures while still maintaining effectiveness, with 5G mmWave equipment needing to be lower to the ground to offer the same connectivity. In a nutshell, this means more small cell nodes within the network that will be in the visual range of people at ground level, ultimately making it necessary to conceal the sites in order not to create an unsightly landscape. In dense urban areas this becomes even more challenging as the demand for coverage increases with higher populations, yet the desire to not compromise the visual integrity of historic areas or urban beautification projects remains strong. The most obvious answers to this dilemma have come in the form of concealed or partially concealed streetlight poles loaded up with equipment.
The existing grid of streetlights that are in metropolitan areas are a necessity, and in many ways help to define the aesthetic of the area. Through the consistent use of complimentary materials, colors and designs these poles are not only functional but are also an asset to help create the defining tone within a region of the city. An “integrated small cell pole” utilizes structures similar to these to incorporate the equipment needed for the 5G network. Due to their proximity to the street and one another, they represent the perfect opportunity to position small cell sites within the needed range to achieve effective network coverage. Concealed small cell STEALTH pole solutions from Raycap effectively conceal the connectivity equipment including 5G mmWave radios/antennas, 4G radios and antenna, all the cabling and other necessary equipment including AC disconnect and surge protection devices. Concealment solutions mimic the architecture of the region in which they are positioned and the 4G/5G antennas and radios are positioned at the pole top to optimize the performance of the network. Pole topper concealments or “radomes” are available on existing poles with equipment shrouds attached, or as a part of a fully concealed and integrated pole solution. By deploying Raycap’s “InvisiWave” material as the concealment for the pole topper, 5G mmWave antenna and radio signals are virtually unaffected. The radome toppers are large enough to conceal one or more antenna or radios in a manner that it is not blocked by potentially interfering materials or enclosures while still maintaining the aesthetic condition of the landscape. The pole topper can be designed according to carrier requirements to host different brands of 5G mmWave radios, and can allow both existing and future implementations as upgrades become necessary. Either through the mounting of new integrated poles for 5G concealment, the utilization of existing poles with pole toppers and side mounted shrouds, or through the use of InvisiWave apertures on side-mounted enclosures that blend in with the buildings on which they are installed, through concealment options 5G can exist in even the most historic areas without compromising the aesthetic.