If you want to know how these antennas work, I want to share with you that 5G Antennas are measured by their potential wavelengths, working through Radio signals. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the frequency. 5G signals will use wavelengths (between 30 and 300 gigahertz) that are measured in millimeters. That’s why 5G is considered a millimeter-wave technology.
The very high frequency of these signals is important to note. It means that 5G will be capable of incredible data bandwidth so that many people will simultaneously send and receive nearly unfathomable amounts of data.
There are some caveats, though. 5G comes in three basic variations: the low, mid, and high band. High-band 5G (about 28 GHz) waves have short-range, and may only be able to span a few blocks of any given area.
That means 5G may not project over long distances. Smaller frequencies also don’t penetrate obstacles very well, so everything from concrete walls to tree leaves may disrupt signals. That makes it a line-of-sight technology – your wireless modem or phone will need to be close to a base station for best transfer speeds.
In other words, because millimeter-wave 5G signals have weaker propagation compared to 4G, service providers will have to create a denser infrastructure to ensure consistent service. As with WiFi, 5G will require more base stations in closer proximity to serve many people.
Low-band 5G, on the other hand, transmits at 600MHz, which will work at a much longer distance. In rural areas, that means a single tower could potentially serve customers for hundreds of square miles – but the speeds might look more like 4G than the 5G you’d find in a city. In some markets in the Far East, mid-band is fast enough to download speeds of 2GB per second. So far, we haven’t seen that kind of performance in the U.S., but that should improve as network engineers tweak and improve the infrastructure
5G’s infrastructure rollout will continue to be different from 4G’s evolution. In the past, communications companies typically build big cellphone towers to propagate cell signals throughout a geographical area. 5G may alter this paradigm.
Instead of constructing towers, service providers will just install their equipment (called small cells) on existing telephone lines and buildings. The cells may have a range of around 820 feet (250 meters). To tap into the signal, customers will use wireless modems (or phones) to connect. In turn, that could mean you no longer need that cable-based internet service.
A lot of what 5G really will entail is still in the realm of speculation. One thing’s for certain: 5G will be an improvement over 4G in terms of speed and capacity. But the upgrade process will be expensive. Service providers will blow trillions – yes, trillions – of dollars to make the jump from 4G to 5G.