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5G operators using low-band spectrum vs. mmWave: CSS

How are organizations handling 5G infrastructure challenges, globally? For instance, why are some operators opting for low-band 5G spectrum instead of the so-called mmWave technologies? Arun Kumar, VP – Network Solutions from CSS Corp., tells us more in an exlcusive chat. Excerpts:

V&D: Why are some operators opting for low-band 5G spectrum instead of the so-called mmWave technologies?

Arun Kumar: Opting for low-band spectrum enables communication operators to deploy 5G at a much larger footprint when compared to mmWave implementation. This band range is ideal in covering wide areas, both indoors and outdoors, with efficient connectivity and highly-reliable low latency communication networks.

Arun Kumar, CSSVoicenData Bureau | voicendata

Low-band 5G spectrum is an optimal and cost-effective option for service providers who are deploying greenfield networks. For instance, a network company based in the USA is currently building a virtualized 5G network from ground up that aims to provide both IoT connectivity and low-latency broadband service.

Since their network equipment is based on network functional virtualization (NFV), the opportunity for a lower cost deployment by implementing a low-band spectrum is significantly high. Additionally, the ability to create network slices brings in a new dimension of utilizing the same base hardware or setup, to create networks that are custom built for every situation (eMBB / eMTC / URLLC) thus, fueling cost efficiency.

V&D: It is that said despite 5G offering a significant increase in speed and bandwidth, its more limited range will require further infrastructure. How can this be overcome?

Arun Kumar: There are immense developments happening through 5G technology. However, the complexities that arise due to limited range is a significant challenge that is constantly being dealt with. To that end, service providers are working on overcoming this through a combination of measures:

* The providers are opting for non-standalone deployments (5G + 4G) that facilitates optimal coverage, while providing required data rates.

* The providers utilize the mmWave technology that enables them to offer focused area coverage and high data rates needed for the urban and city center areas.

* Alternatively, the service providers also opt for low-band options of deploying 5G to enable extensive coverage with the trade-off of lower data rates, but still significantly higher that 4G speeds.

V&D: How can 5G help industrial cases of ultra-low latency applications?

Arun Kumar: The ultra-low latency offered by 5G will power applications that are yet to be seen on mobile phones. With the processing power inching closer to the edge, we will see mobile phones and other modern appliances perform at whole new levels in terms of efficiency, quality and consistency. The following are some of the use-cases that 5G could transform in the coming years:

* Autonomous vehicles
* Logistic management (with high efficiency levels)
* AR/VR applications built for human safety in high risk environments like technicians working on towers or power lines.

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