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What is 5G?

What is 5G?

What does 5G mean in Rural Vermont in 2019-20?  An Informal Opinion from VTEL Wireless:

The global wireless industry, serving over 7 billion phone numbers, is sufficiently complex that any 5G rural Vermont prediction that VTel Wireless can make is tenuous at best. But a few things are clear.

A probably irrefutable fact  is that 5G is the next global wireless standard. An accompanying opinion, widely held but perhaps optimistic , is that it  will take about a decade to become “almost everywhere”.

A second fact is that it will deliver much faster wireless speeds of above 50-100 Meg, that in some cases will exceed a billion bits per second. In some laboratory tests, 5G speeds have exceeded 10 billion bits per second.

A third fact is that in much of the world, including the U.S., this 2018-2028 5G evolution will encourage many governments to auction to industry new high-frequency radio spectrum. Some of this new radio spectrum is being auctioned by the FCC today. This evolution will almost certainly, simultaneously, also persuade wireless industry operators to make more efficient use of high-frequency radio spectrum already in place.

A fourth fact is that this 5G evolution will require many billions of dollars of new optical fiber construction, and other infrastructure, to connect millions of new micro-radios in the US, throughout Europe, China, Japan, Korea, and around the world. The result, in the opinion of some informed experts, might replace conventional landline cable TV and landline telephones. Some informed experts, including us at VTel, predict a future where fiber-to-homes and 5G wireless support each other.

Some customers ask us “So what is VTel Wireless doing to introduce 5G?” We have been testing new high frequency radios on four of our 165 wireless sites in rural Vermont for almost two years, using high-frequency FCC radio licenses we own  The results are  encouraging in terms of speeds. But most of the world sees 5G as a primarily urban revolution, with less expected impact on rural homes where population densities are less. We share this view. Nonetheless, our 4G/5G work is already producing modest network wide rural wireless Vermont improvements. Our 2018 Ericsson network-wide Carrier Aggregation software upgrades, using new exterior antennas, on all our sites, are increasing rural wireless home speeds in many homes by ten-fold.

We think it’s important, in rural Vermont,  to not create 5G expectations that are too high.  5G will almost certainly be introduced in Burlington, by giant and smaller wireless carriers, in the next two or three years. The broader impact over most rural neighborhoods will likely remain modest. Nonetheless, 4G/5G innovations, throughout the state, will have immediate and long-term impact that are important, and these are already being felt.