There’s been a lot of buzz around 5G in the last couple of years, and networks like EE and Three have already released their 5G networks. O2 is due to release theirs in November. The use of 5G is still limited however, with a number of regular functions still carried out through the 4G network. It won’t be until around 2022 that 5G takes over all the core functions on mobiles.
5G is the ‘fifth generation’ mobile network that uses frequencies all the way up to 300 GHz. It promises more stable connections and download speeds that are 5 to 10 times faster than 4G networks. The masts that support the 5G network will also have a much higher carrying capacity, meaning that more people can connect simultaneously and people in areas with poor 4G coverage will finally get better service.
The promise of ‘better, faster internet’ has come around many times, and whilst it is convenient to have better connectivity, it may not seem that exciting on the surface. The real potential of 5G is how it can be used to advance new technology, such as allowing drones and driverless cars to communicate with each other and react to real-time changes.
What components are needed to build the 5G network?
One of the things that makes 5G possible is the use of many small, outdoor cells as opposed to the large, macro cell towers currently spread out across the world that are intended to carry signals across huge areas.
The smaller cells mean that providers don’t have to provide rooftop installations to boost signal to the nearest cell tower, and mobile users will be using less battery power by transmitting to much closer cells. Some 5G cells will be as close as 500 feet apart, and only appear as small boxes, so blend in with their environment much better, especially in cities.
Cells aren’t the only 5G network components needed to operate the 5G network. To be able to access the network, users will need smartphones with a 5G modem which, currently, only the top-of-the-range phones have.
How will 5G components affect global supply chains?
Global supply chains are already having to provide components to support this new and exciting tech, but it really is still in the early stages. Until 5G becomes the norm in around 2022, the volume of 5G network components required is only going to increase.
5G is yet to launch on a number of networks and in a number of locations. Whilst we have 5G infrastructure in the UK, there are parts of Europe, America and the rest of the world that are still waiting. As new countries begin to implement 5G, the demand on supply chains will spike.
The technology that makes up the 5G cells and the 5G modems is still relatively new and, as such, could be subject to change. As more countries and carriers launch their own 5G networks, there is potential for greater advancement in the tech to make it work even better, which will, of course, require new 5G network components.
This potential to take 5G even further means companies are likely to jostle for pole position as the leaders in 5G technology, meaning supply chains are going to be pressed to meet the increased demands caused by this competition.