How will mmWave technology limit deployments of 5G to rural and suburban communities?

Early deployments of 5G mobile networks in the US rely heavily on millimeter wave technology, but deployments in Asia are more for sub-6 GHz. How will this impact deployment?


How will mmWave technology limit deployments of 5G to rural and suburban communities? Early deployments of 5G mobile networks in the US rely heavily on millimeter wave technology, but deployments in Asia are more for sub-6 GHz. How will this impact deployment?



At HPE Discover 2019, TechRepublic's James Sanders spoke with Enterprise Strategy Group's Bob Laliberte about how early deployments of 5G mobile networks in the US rely heavily on millimeter wave technology, but deployments in Asia are more for sub-6 GHz. The following is an edited transcript of the interview.

Bob Laliberte: First of all, 5G is still very nascent, very early in its build-out. And you're starting to see some of the initial deployments going out: Chicago, Minneapolis, and various other metro locations. I think what you'll continue to see is because of the coverage area, you'll see it limited initially to larger, dense metropolitan areas. And as you mentioned, issues with millimeter wave, there are some limitations with distance, limitations with being able to penetrate foliage, potentially even snow, and rain, things of that nature. So I think what we should expect is that over the next five years you'll continue to see this built out, starting in the large metros and then expanding out to the edges. Whether it actually ever becomes fully pervasive in all of those rural areas I think is something that still remains to be seen and there's a lot of issues there not just related to the antennas, but the fiber build-out to support it, et cetera, whether the local municipalities enable all the antennas to go up that might be required to supply adequate coverage of those areas, as well. So a number of different factors that will play into that.

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By James Sanders

James Sanders is a staff technology writer for TechRepublic. He covers future technology, including quantum computing, AI/ML, and 5G, as well as cloud, security, open source, mobility, and the impact of globalization on the industry, with a focus on ...