5G next gen cellular performance

5G has dominated headlines over the past year, with discussion ranging from performance benchmarks to all kinds of eyebrow-raising conspiracy theories. The hype is certainly warranted- 5G is a game changer, bringing unprecedented data rates to the market.

Newer and more advanced wireless and fiber optic technology have contributed immensely to the development of 5G. As data requirements continue to scale, greater investment in fiber connectivity will be needed to power the 5G backbone transport networks. With mainstream rollouts around the corner, let’s take a closer look at what makes 5G special and how fiber is indispensable for building a fast and reliable 5G network.

To put into perspective how fast 5G is, if it takes around 5 minutes to download an 8Gb video on 4G LTE, the same task will be completed in less than 30 seconds on 5G. With minimal latency and higher capacity, 5G has much greater synergy with IoT (Internet-of-Things) applications, which is highly essential given that IoT applications often have some of the most demanding data requirements.
5G utilizes an assortment of technologies such as Massive MIMO (Multiple In, Multiple Out) and Beamforming to bolster data transmission. Massive MIMO uses multiple antennas to simultaneously send out multiple bits of data separated by space (spatial multiplexing), in order to prevent signal interference. Beamforming is a technique used for calculating optimal data transmission routes.
The backbone architectures of 5G networks will require a diverse assortment of fiber optic transceivers. Front-haul architectures will need to deploy 25G optical transceivers which can cover shorter ranges of 2-10 km. Mid-haul architectures have longer range requirements at 2-80 km and will need 40-100G optical transceivers that offer accelerated data transfer and expanded bandwidth. Back-haul architectures have the longest-range requirements at 80-100 km and will need long reach 100-200G transceivers with extended signal strength.
Deloitte reports that the U.S. will need an estimated $130-$150 billion of fiber infrastructure to adequately support broadband competition, rural coverage, and wireless densification1. Given that high-band is the gold standard for 5G, densification of fiber networks is critical for 5G to reach its potential.
Telecom companies have already invested a great deal into building 5G infrastructures. Gartner reports that 21.3% of spending on wireless infrastructures has been allocated to developing the new standard2. Given the exorbitant costs for building a multi-tiered 5G network, acquisition of OEM solutions may not be practical in terms of cost-performance. Third-party upgrades such as Axiom fiber solutions deliver equivalent or superior performance at a fraction of the costs.