Wired takes a look at the stakes in the global competition to deploy the next-generation wireless service.
TECHNICAL STANDARDS FOR the next generation of wireless services aren’t even finalized, yet the US and China are already locked in a crucial race to be the first country to deploy a so-called 5G network.
Or at least that’s what both the US government and the wireless industry say. “The United States will not get a second chance to win the global 5G race,” Meredith Attwell Baker, president and CEO of the wireless industry group CTIA, warned in April, when the group released a report concluding that the US trails China and South Korea in preparing for 5G (fifth generation) networks. If that doesn’t change, the report warns, the US economy will suffer.
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Still no discussion of 5G limitations to meet rural broadband needs. Millimeter waves planned for 5G implementation are blocked by vegetation requiring a clear line of sight. Millimeter waves have limited range, measured in yards rather than miles. The 5G technology is better suited for population dense urban neighborhoods, than less dense rural communities were users are distributed over broader areas covered in vegetation.
The Sierra hills and valleys covered in vegitation will present evan greater challanges to 5G installers. When will this all become clear to rural community leaders counting on 5G to bring broadband to their constituents?