Relevance of Fiber Optics for a Scaled-Up 5G Network

5G Network
5G Network

2019 has been the year of 5G network. When you think of 5G, fiber networks running under the ground are not your first thought. But, the fact is, 5G mobile networks will significantly affect not only the wireless side but also the wireline side of the global network infrastructure. 

In fact, 5G’s challenging network performance goals rest heavily on the availability of fiber, and lots of it! Some of these goals are –

  • 1000x increased in bandwidth, per unit area
  • 100x more connected devices
  • Up to 10Gbps connection rates 
  • 100% network coverage
  • Maximum of 1ms end-to-end round-trip delay or latency
  • Drastic reduction in network energy utilization

Why is Fiber Necessary for 5G Networks?

Every network was created with a specific purpose –

  • 1G (1982) to support analog voice
  • 2G (1991) to support digital voice and messaging
  • 3G (1998) to support data and multimedia service 
  • 4G/LTE (2008) to support IP voice and data, and video and mobile internet service
  • 5G (2019) to support IoT and Big Data (such as autonomous cars, factory robotics, smart cities, etc.)

Considering what 5G is meant to do, lots of fiber is needed. Here’s why.

Creation and Transfer of Real-Time Data

5G supports IoT and Big Data, both of which depend heavily on collection and transfer of real-time data. Instantaneous decisions are being made, based on this data. Hence, there is a need for lower latency and higher bandwidth levels to make sure that the data rapidly reaches its destination.

Since the bandwidth potential is unlimited, fiber is the cable that can support these bandwidth levels.

Increasing Network Demands

The 24/7 data collection and transfer make more demands on networks –

  • higher network availability levels
  • full wireless network coverage (no dead spots)
  • lower latency 
  • higher bandwidth capabilities 

All these are caused by an ever-increasing number of connected devices, which further connect their users to unlimited data. However, there’s another layer of connectivity that doesn’t come to mind right away. These are devices aren’t controlled or managed by people (for example, PoE LED lighting fixtures, surveillance cameras and digital displays), rather these devices connect directly to the network and operate independently.

Higher Radio Frequencies and Small Cells

To achieve expected performance levels, 5G networks need more small cells and mobile edge computing to avoid network bottlenecks. These small-cell deployments often use the millimeter wave spectrum, depending heavily on fiber cabled connections for the backhaul portion of the network.

To handle larger amounts of data, 5G uses radio frequencies that are much higher than existing mobile networks. But these higher frequencies have very short ranges. To ensure 5G works as expected and is efficiently able to provide multi-GB service to users and devices, additional cells covering small areas are needed throughout your space (some experts say these should be spaced as close together as 200 feet apart).

To provide multi-GB service to the users and applications that want access to 5G networks, the cells redistribute signals from cellular carriers through the air or via direct line, bringing them inside and/or dispersing them across a vast area. In their absence, carriers would not be able to get their signals indoors. Keeping the application size in mind, they may be femto cells, small cells, enterprise radio access networks (RAN), distributed antenna systems (DAS) or Cloud RAN (CRAN).

Fiber is the preferred option due to its scalability, security and ability to handle the vast amount of backhaul traffic.

Apart from being the top option for network backhauls, fiber is also preferred for the part of the network that connects the small cells.

Fiber optic connectivity comes in all shapes and size the steadfastly moving digital generation, connectivity, bandwidth, and redundancy are now available as cloud services and its inexpensiveness enables even the smallest businesses to adopt them. 

Fiber can handle the increased speeds with lower attenuation of 5G. Fiber cable is also immune to electromagnetic interference and provides almost unlimited bandwidth potential.

The launch of 5G has brought enhanced capacity and lower latency to networks. The copper-based infrastructures that were earlier supporting connectivity, won’t be able to keep up with 5G bandwidth demands. This connectivity can only be supported by fiber cable.

Fiber Optic connectivity comes in all shapes and sizes to fit any organization’s needs. With the steadfastly moving digital generation, connectivity, bandwidth, and redundancy are now available as cloud services and its inexpensiveness enables even the smallest businesses to adopt them.

When it is time to choose a networking partner, you must ensure that the partner has a long-term proven experience in designing, deploying and managing single, regional and global networks and this is what a provider, such as ProSplice in New York, offers. 

To find out more about fusion splicing and fiber cable maintenance in New York, call the leading fiber network experts, ProSplice at 845-235-2115. ProSplice is trusted, capable and experienced in all the critical Fiber Network Environments. ProSplice provides fusion splicing, emergency restoration services, design consulting services and more.


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