The benefits 5G promises are truly transformational and life changing. But just because 5G is in its infancy now, doesn’t mean you should sit on the sidelines and wait for it grow into a teenager. It’s very likely that you will be able to benefit from 5G much sooner than you think. So, how can you begin to make the transition?
Expect 5G technology to make its way into the existing frequency bands over the next two or three years and to be in widespread use by 2022. What you need to do now depends on your existing system. As 5G networks roll out, carriers will be using different frequency bands for 5G.
There are three frequency bands that 5G networks can operate on: sub-3 GHz (the low-band), 3 GHz to 7 GHz (the mid-band), and the faster 24 GHz (and above) mmWaves. 4G currently operates on the lower bands, which are the traditional frequency bands used for cellular networks. The mid-bands include CBRS frequencies at 3.5 GHz and the 6 GHz unlicensed frequency.
The system you are currently using can make all the difference in how you transition to 5G. Here are a few guidelines to give you an idea of what to expect as you move to 5G.
If you have a modern in-building 4G DAS system (<two years old) and you have access to a 5G network operating in the lower bands, there is a very good chance that the stage one evolution from 4G to 5G will be fairly painless. Depending on your system, you will probably be able to use 5G signals in the low-band frequencies with little or no changes to your equipment or infrastructure. Most equipment manufacturers build in enough performance to comfortably handle 5G. The conversion will most likely be a non event.
A performance review will determine how much capability your system offers. Usually the transition involves an enhancement of your current system. The amount of antennas required in the building will likely be the same or require a few adjustments. These signals in the low band propagate effectively but carrier lower data rates than the mid-band or mmW frequencies.