State of the Art Technology
Small Cells, 5G, and the Intenet of Things
The number of cell sites in the US could multiply by a factor of ten in the future, according to former FCC chair Tom Wheeler.1 Fifth-generation wireless, or 5G, is associated with wireless connections to the internet of things (IoT), including smart city technology and self-driving cars.2 The IoT refers to the evolution of state-of-the-art big data, cloud-edge computing, data centers, fiber-optic transport, and wireless technology. It’s about expanding the growth in such markets as smart home technology, remote sensing, machine-to-machine communications, and analytics to just about any device that can be monitored, actuated, and analyzed. Water companies reading residential meters and parking meters using wireless gear are early existing applications of the IoT.
While 5G is currently in its infancy, it is expected to blossom over the next five years and beyond. Micro cell sites are expected to lead the way. Frequency spectrum is being tested to support expanded development of micro cell site technology and 5G applications in new frequency spectrum.3 In addition to frequency spectrum, also known as wireless broadband, all wireless facilities require real estate rights or entitlements. Small cells, 5G, and the IoT will require significant wireless site and permitting efforts over the next five years by qualified consultants.