Urban Planning Challenges and 5G
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The ongoing rollout of 5G wireless services across metropolitan areas is creating both challenges and opportunities for urban planners and city officials. Within already congested regions where citizens, buildings and infrastructure elements are densely packed together, the additional integration of 5G connectivity poses issues. While the benefits of 5G networks are obvious, with faster speeds and higher bandwidths allowing for ultra-high definition video, access to educational and entertainment services from any region, as well as financial service access in regions where there are no banks physically present, we find that the technological rollout of 5G networks poses some significant challenges. Part of this is due to the limited distances that some high frequency 5G signals can travel without being diminished, and connections weakened or dropped completely. The traditional 4G macro cell site can maintain distances of more than a mile without connection loss, but 5G mm Wave cell sites must be placed within less than one tenth of that distance to achieve the same connectivity. 5G mmWave small cell sites also must be lower to the ground in order to provide the necessary connectivity, meaning there must be from 6 to 12 more 5G cell sites in a region than previous 4G iterations. This need for such an increased number of sites in order to maintain reliable connectivity poses issues for those in charge of development of city landscapes, both from a safety and aesthetic standpoint.
In order to advance urban regions to “smart city” levels through the rollout of fully covered areas of 5G connectivity, city planners are finding a key to success through the utilization of a staple on city streets, the streetlight pole. Through the use of this street fixture, the integration of 5G equipment can be achieved within the positions it needs to be and at the distances necessary for optimum connectivity. New lighting poles and other concealment solutions can be designed by Raycap design engineers with input from the carrier, real estate partner, integration partner and the municipality, allowing for a final product that the citizens will approve and will also complete the carrier’s mission of installing a 5G network. By concealing all the 5G site components and radios with designs that support the technology, such as InvisiWave®, Raycap’s patented material which can be used to conceal 5G mmWave radios and antenna with little to no signal degradation, both the carrier and the city’s needs are being met. Raycap’s STEALTH products are defined by a wide array of solutions, not only streetlight poles, but also side mounted boxes or enclosures painted and made to blend in with an existing building, rooftop screens and side mounted shrouds accompanied by pole toppers or “radomes”. All of these solutions are at the disposal of the carrier and the municipality and are presently being installed in many different municipalities in the United States. By providing solutions for the concealment of equipment, the 5G “smart city” is no longer a dream of the future, it is here today.