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Telecom and Data
Rising to the 5G mobile challenge
Jean-Jacques Sage, Nexans Products & Solutions Marketing Manager, explains why the next generation of wireless telecom network will rely more than ever on cable.
In the fast-changing world of telecoms, the 5G revolution is awaited with much impatience. With the promise of astonishing gigabit-per-second data rates and near-instantaneous connectivity, the next generation of mobile technology is expected to make a great impact across many industries and change the lives of the billions of users worldwide. At Nexans, our ambition is to empower the world to take this leap into the future of telecoms by providing the state-of-the-art infrastructure that will make 5G possible.
5G – a wealth of possibilities
At around 10 times faster or even more than the current 4G technology, ultra-low latency 5G will allow users to send and receive gigantic amounts of data with incredible speed. Downloading a movie in full HD in a matter of seconds or having a videoconference with such a stunning resolution that it will seem like everyone is in the same room will become possible with the new generation of mobile connectivity.
Furthermore, 5G will be the crucial foundation for the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications across a wide range of industries. From live-streaming events in VR for immersive experience, to supporting the development of connected vehicles, to enabling autonomous self-driving cars – the new generation of telecom networks must support massive data traffic while ensuring ultra-low latency for a smooth user experience.
Technology breakthroughs behind 5G
According to some experts, 5G could become widely available as soon as 2020. To deliver these capabilities, mobile network operators will need to enhance and expand their current mobile network infrastructure to make use of the 5G New Radio (NR) spectrum in new bands – typically in much higher and yet unused frequencies, including millimeter wave bands.
While the higher-frequency spectrum being made available for 5G offers significant new capacity and data speeds, it also means shorter propagation distances. In areas such as high-traffic cities, town centers and business districts – where 5G NR is likely to be deployed first – operators are going to need large numbers of smaller cells, with low-powered portable base stations that will provide the desired coverage and capacity levels. Furthermore, in order to achieve the high user data rates, multiple input multiple output systems (MIMOs) featuring dozens of antennas will be necessary to boost the signal when required.
Finally, recent studies predict that by the time 5G will become reality, over 95% of mobile data will be consumed indoors. This means that indoor antennas and cabling, including hybrid and energy cables, will be an indispensable part of tomorrow’s 5G infrastructure.
Developing cutting-edge network technology at Nexans
Even though 5G is wireless its deployment will involve a lot more fiber and copper cable to connect equipment, both within the radio access network domain and back to the routing and core network infrastructure.
Nexans is working closely with leading mobile network carriers and equipment vendors to develop new infrastructure solutions that will help mobile operators meet the challenge of rolling out 5G coverage, both outdoor and indoor, as quickly and cost-efficiently as possible.
Examples include: plug-and-play, pre-connectorized multi-Gbps Ethernet for fast installation across multiple sites; hybrid optical/copper cable (48 Vdc and 400 Vdc) that saves space and installation costs; high-temperature cable able to withstand the hot, cramped conditions of congested equipment cabinets; and 10 Gbps Power-over-Ethernet (POE++) compatible indoor enhanced copper data cable.
In addition to its industry-renown products and solutions for 4G, Nexans has been also actively involved in developing 5G solutions. The recent innovations include indoor cables as well as microwave cat. 6A cables designed for indoor and outdoor applications and offering enhanced EMC and POE performance while allowing for faster installation. Nexans has also recently launched a connected active cabinet, a modulable and customizable solution with integrated air conditioning, power plant, alarm management and monitoring features designed to host WDM equipment and to protect and efficiently manage fiber optic cables in outdoor environments.