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  1. Going Wireless with 5G Means Going Deeper into Wholesale Wireline Fiber Solutions

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    Wholesale network operators are a mainstay of the American telecommunications landscape, serving a host of other carriers and service providers, including mobile operators. The idea, then, of last mile networks and wholesale mobile backhaul is nothing new. What is new, however, is the surging volume of consumer and enterprise data that is being facilitated by new cellular technologies like 5G. In effect, 5G will completely reshape the telecommunications landscape, putting pressure on existing network infrastructure and providing new business opportunities for wholesale operators. In this blog, we examine how this will happen and the role fiber-based network services can play in helping the wholesale community adjust.

    The Effect of 5G on Legacy Networks

    As you are likely already aware, 5G promises significant upgrades in terms of data speeds, bandwidth and low latency connections. Compared to current wireless standards like 4G, 5G is arguably a necessity for bringing the world of the Internet of Things (IoT) into its golden era. As the telecommunications industry begins to witness the roll out of preliminary 5G networks, it is worth understanding that the shift to ubiquitous, worldwide 5G coverage is really a two-step process.

    The first step in the transition to 5G is achieving what is known as non-standalone coverage. This is basically a response to the realization that, although 4G networks have come a long way being supported by fiber-based backhaul, 5G will require a never-before-seen level of densification of existing networks. This is, of course, due to the higher frequencies that 5G networks use. Compared to the lower frequencies of 4G and its predecessors, these higher ones travel much shorter distances. As a result, in order to avoid signal dissipation and poor service quality, carriers and other operators will have to place cell-sites and antennas much closer together.

    Whether we are talking about macro sites, small cells or remote relays, one thing is clear here – the future of 5G depends on fiber-based network solutions. While backhaul immediately comes to mind, the opportunities for wholesale carriers are quite diverse and extensive. After all, every part of the network that connects to the 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) will need up be upgraded to support the surge in traffic that will result from greater 5G rollouts in the coming years.

    The Role of Wholesale Fiber Optic Network Solutions in Enabling 5G

    As RCR Wireless recently wrote about a Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) convention here in the Eastern US, “5G was all the rage, but…talk of fiber optics was noticeably lacking.” This trend needs to shift because, although RAN and core are important, “none of that works without the fiber.” The bottom line is that 5G architectures will not only require densification but will also demand a greater selection of fiber-based assets to support a variety of use cases including fronthaul, backhaul, network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN).

    Fiber is critical in enabling 5G and not just for capacity reasons. In order to meet the availability and coverage goals of 5G deployments, operators working with everything from Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) to Fiber-to-the-X (FTTx) will need to transform their access networks. As Light Reading has implied, 5G is more than just a technology. It is a shift to a whole new way of deploying network infrastructures.

    Wholesale carriers thus face a clear opportunity. Instead of concentrating just on traditional backhaul between a remote tower and a centralized headend, now wholesale operators can offer fronthaul to a multitude of small-cell sites. These include installations like light posts, for example. Also, as existing carriers and cable companies turn to decentralized software-controlled distributed access architectures (DAA), the wholesale community can also benefit from offering Ethernet services and SDN capabilities. This can help solve capital expenditure issues for carriers and service providers who might find investing in dark fiber uneconomical. From fronthaul to backhaul and transport, the role of fiber in supporting 5G is critical.

    In short, wholesale operators and fiber providers like DQE Communications are going to be critical pillars of support for 5G in the US. As Ciena notes, “it’s rather ironic that the projected performance goals of 5G wireless will depend on the availability of wireline fiber.” Here at DQE, whether you’re looking for backhaul, CRAN or small cell solutions, we know what it takes to build a reliable network to grow with the demands of the wireless industry.

    Contact us to learn more about our available services, including Metro Ethernet, Wavelength Services, Dark Fiber and SD-WAN.

  2. The 5G Revolution

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    What is 5G?

    5G is a major buzzword in the telecommunications industry right now. It’s important to understand this upcoming enhancement because it will change our whole online experience. What exactly is 5G and what impact will it have on technology? By definition, 5G stands for the 5th Generation of wireless technology and it is the successor to what we currently use on our smart devices – 4G or LTE. There will be a plethora of benefits for your smart devices such as: extremely fast speeds, the ability to move more data, lower latency, more responsiveness, and the ability to connect multiple devices at once. The connection speeds will be exponentially faster in comparison to 4G and LTE. It will supposedly have a download speed of an impressive 1 to 10 Gbps compared to a mere 100 Mbps with LTE. That’s fast, and with 5G this will become the standard for the industry around the world.

    What will 5G do?

    While these benefits will enhance our personal device usage, the impact on technology and telecommunications will be transformative. One of these benefits is the ability to perform remote surgery. Low latency of 5G paired with the fact that there will be almost no lag at all will allow surgeons to perform in other rooms through the use of Virtual Reality and a robotic arm. This will enable surgeons, or people of any profession, to use their skills in real time from anywhere in the world. The IoT (Internet of Things) as a whole will benefit, particularly self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles. Several companies are working on the emerging technology of self-driving cars now, but many people believe they won’t be successful until the implementation of 5G. Instant responses, unlimited coverage, and 5G sensors built around cities will allow for the cars to seamlessly communicate with one another and maneuver urban traffic safely and efficiently. This same concept is also true for drones. Drones are currently being used, but not nearly to their full potential. Through 5G, drones will now be able to share information with one another and send real time data to users, thus unlocking an unlimited amount of different uses.

    When will 5G be available?

    So, when can we expect this exciting change to be implemented? The larger wireless providers will be unveiling the service throughout this year. Multiple companies ran test trials in several different cities in 2017 and plan to launch mobile 5G in a dozen cities across the country by the end of 2018. One company has tested 5G in almost 50 cities already and are promising to have full, nationwide 5G coverage available by 2020. Another important thing to note is the fact that to use 5G, you must have a 5G compatible phone that can handle the huge amounts of data and the instantaneous speeds. Over 18 global device makers have pledged to have their 5G compatible phones on the market by early 2019. However, there are still some finishing touches that need to be done before 5G can become a normal, readily available service. For now, all we can do is prepare ourselves and wait!