Conversations around 5G are not only exciting but also controversial in equal measure. We all have heard theories of how some countries such as China are planning to use the technology to spy on other nations. In other controversial theories, it is claimed that 5G would pose a significant threat to our health.
The truth is that most of these claims are rendered null and void. They do not hold ground when tested against existing facts. Truly, 5G proves to be more promising and beneficial than imagined.
With the technology, we would have fast-speed connections powering the many applications sprouting from it. It would set the stage for the rapid development of promising technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, among others.
Deployment of 5G in rural areas stands out as one challenge that hasn’t been tackled. More effort is required to change the way 5G is approached and the financials involved in order to bring it to the rural areas.
What is 5G?
5G refers to the fifth-generation network that picks up from the advances that other generations – 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G – have made. The overall design of this technology is to interconnect everything and everyone into a single model, constantly exchanging information. Machines, devices, and objects are interconnected to create the Internet of Things (IoT).
The objectives of 5G are to deliver high-speed connectivity, increase reliability, mitigate latencies, increase availability, and provide massive network capacity. The fifth-generation network is expected to standardize user experience while delivering high performance and high efficiency.
A Technical Look at 5G in Rural Areas
5G signals are slated to transmit in the range of millimeter Wave (mmWave). Radio waves based on this range have the characteristic of not bending around corners or even traveling over a long distance. Due to the hindrances involved, the successful launch of 5G demands that the base station towers reside close to each other as opposed to 4G and latter wireless generations.
For a densely populated region like urban areas, this approach makes it cost-effective. However, in rural areas where households are scattered, the idea of setting up cell stations closer to each other proves expensive.
In contrast, this connectivity promises higher bandwidth that rural areas will gladly welcome, considering constant cases of slow and unreliable Internet. There is no doubt that champions of this technology need to strike a balance between the deployment costs and service advantages associated with taking 5G to the country’s remote parts.
It proves challenging to ensure that sparsely populated regions are given access to the speeds they so much deserve while carriers mitigate infrastructure expenses within manageable limits. One of the ways of doing this is to go with hybrid networks. That is, existing 4G infrastructure is used to carry a bulk of the 5G traffic in rural areas. Whereas such an implementation is possible, it implies a reduction in the speeds that 5G promises.
As works on 5G draw towards an end and more carriers roll out the technology on a trial basis, there is a need to consider rural areas too. The potentials that the technology holds for these regions is massive. Equal deployment in all regions sets precedence for the attainment of the initial purpose of the fifth-generation network.