5G mmWave in Truckee?

I have been reading about 5G and the upcoming spectrum auctions in the mmWave spectrum. If you have been reading posts on this blog, you will recognize I do not think that mmWave devices are appropriate for applications in rural regions of the county. In the Sierra rural region is well forested and has lots of vegetation, which can block the line of sight between the cell tower and the customer service unit. The other major shortcoming of mmWave devices is the short range, measured in meters and not miles.

Looking at one study of 28GHz coverage the coverage of several city blocks looked like this:

Antenna array at 900MHz and 28 GHz.

For 28GHz mini-cells, the radius distance in the study was 224 meters, which is about 735 feet. The 360-degree coverage would be a diameter of 448 meters across, creating a coverage area of about 2/3 of a square mile or 43 acres. I was wondering how that would look in a Sierra community and chose Truckee for a test. Using Qgis, open source GIS mapping program, I created a grid of hexagons 448 meters from edge to edge. Using Open Street Maps for a base map, I plotted the hex grid within the Truckee City limits. Here is the result:

Screenshot 2018-12-27 15.00.50
Excluding Donor Lake and other non-populated areas not requiring coverage, it would take about 700-800 mini-cells to provide 28GHz coverage within the city limits of Truckee. I do not think that Truckee will be getting full 5G mmWave coverage anytime soon, if ever.

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