The next major step in wireless networking is the 5G network. This new technology promises faster speeds, more stable connections, and the ability to connect just about everything from homes to cars to smartphones. With this new network, the idea of the smart city may finally become a reality. The 5G network will help city planners and technology vendors overcome a number of the obstacles that they’ve been facing as far as smart city deployment goes.
The Challenges of Creating Smart Cities
The idea of the smart city is certainly enticing – a city with strong, stable wireless connectivity throughout. Any device can connect to this network at any time. One of the first challenges developers faced was the fact that a 4G network simply couldn’t handle all of the devices that would be connected to it. The connections weren’t strong enough, especially for those devices which are lo 0cated at a significant distance from the network transmitter. The stability of the network, as more and more devices connected to it, also became an issue.
The 5G technology solves this issue, reducing latency and creating a strong network. On the downside, however, the 5G signal doesn’t travel as far as the 4G signal. This means many more transmitters will be required. For rural areas, this may not yet be possible, although for urban locations it’s easier to effectively place small transmitters.
The cost of this network is another challenge. It’s estimated that covering the entire United States with a 5G network will cost $300 billion dollars. The federal government is considering paying for some or all of this cost, but no decision has been made. In the meantime, cell phone carriers and technology manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce the cost of deployment. Due to the need for regulations to be approved, it’s unlikely 5G technology will become widespread before 2020, and that gives developers time to consider this challenge.
Where Do the Transmitters Go?
One of the major issues urban planners are facing is the sheer number of transmitters that need to be placed around a city. All of these transmitters need to be wired into the power grid, and many may also need to be connected to a fiber optic cable. These restrictions limit where transmitters can be placed.
Utility poles or light poles were first considered, but both present problems. Utility poles can become overloaded, leading to a risk of sparking or even catching fire. Poles that are overloaded can also cause issues with the power grid, even leading to outages.
Light poles also present other problems. In order to properly connect the small cell transmitters, the sidewalk near the pole has to be dug up so that additional fiber optic cables can be run. This means that installers have to apply for the correct permits. With such a large number of permits required, this can add a good amount of time to the deployment of 5G technology, even in cities where installing a city-wide network is a priority.
Another issue with light poles is that they offer no protection for the 5G transmitters. While manufacturers are working to reduce the size and cost of these transmitters, the fact is that there are still a number of expenses related to them. In addition to the cost of manufacturing the device, installation cost also has to be considered. When a transmitter is damaged by the weather or by vandalism, those costs have to be covered.
One potential solution to this issue is the SYNDÉO Smart Vault. This in-ground waterproof housing offers a number of benefits to cities looking to implement 5G technology.
An Attractive, Safe Solution
The Smart Vault provides the ideal solution for cities by creating a safe and attractive place for housing 5G transmitters. Many of the issues found with light poles and other locations simply aren’t a concern with the Smart Vault.
First is the location. Smart Vaults replace a section of the sidewalk, terrace, or curbing. They are stable and strong, allowing people to walk on them without any concern. They even include a slip-resistant surface to prevent falls when it’s raining. Smart Vaults can be placed in any area, even serving as a ramp for those with disabilities when installed at a curb.
The Smart Vault is a climate-controlled environment that is waterproof and tamper-proof. Only those with the correct tools are able to access the devices and the wiring within the Smart Vault. This also protects the equipment inside from the weather and damage from other sources, all while creating an unobtrusive and safe solution that most people won’t even notice.
While smart cities may not yet be a full reality, we are getting closer and closer to the technology needed. The Smart Vault will play a key role in the deployment of small cell 5G transmitters, which, in turn, provide the backbone of the smart city.