5G is the latest mobile network standard, and with it comes a lot of new features. One of the most exciting 5G features is super high speed. 5G is expected to deliver speeds up to 100 times faster than current 4G networks. In order to achieve this, the standard is going to require a huge amount of upgrade investment in coverage, towers, and even the way we use mobile data.
In this article, we take a look at what 5G towers look like, what 5G will mean for tower owners, and how to become a 5G tower technician.
What are 5G Towers?
5G is a next-generation wireless technology that promises higher speeds and lower latency than current 4G networks. To achieve this, 5G needs to be fully interconnected with all other networks, including wired networks and the internet. This interconnection is achieved with what are known as 5G core networks.
Similarly, mobile devices will also be required to support 5G technology. This means that mobile devices will have to be able to communicate with 5G towers, and vice versa.
5G towers are the hardware required to make 5G work. They’re similar to 4G towers in many ways, but they have a few key differences.
These differences mean that 5G towers need to be able to support a range of new features and technologies, including higher frequency bands and wider beam widths.
What does 5G mean for Tower Owners?
For owners of existing 4G towers, 5G will bring little change. 5G towers will still be able to support any 4G devices that are already in use, and existing maintenance contracts can be used to upgrade equipment.
There will likely be some changes for owners of 4G towers as 5G becomes more popular.
First, most 5G devices will be able to support wireless speeds of more than 10Gbps, which means that a typical 4G tower won’t be able to support these speeds. For example, a typical 4G LTE beam can only communicate at between 30Mbps and 100Mbps. In contrast, a 5G core network can support speeds of between 1Gbps and 10Gbps.
To support 5G devices, 5G towers will need to have a larger range of wireless frequencies to support multiple different devices. This means that existing license agreements may need to be updated, both to reflect new 5G standards, and to make sure that towers are compatible with the broad range of 5G devices that are expected to be in use.
What Do 5G Towers Look Like?
5G towers have a similar purpose to 4G towers, but are built in a completely different way. 5G towers are tall lattice towers, rather than being tall and rectangular like older generations of towers.
They’re designed from the ground up to support extremely high mobile data speeds and are often located in key areas, like shopping centers, airports, and in cities.
5G towers are often built around a central core, with many more small antennas around the outside. This allows for more copies of the same signal to be sent out to further areas at once, increasing speeds and the ability to use more data simultaneously.
What Does 5G Network Equipment Look Like?
5G equipments can be found in a range of different places on a 5G site.
Here’s a look at some of the most common types of 5G equipment found at a 5G site:
- Cellular Base Station Antennas: These are the main antennas that receive the cellular network signals.
- Cell Tower Antennas: These help connect a radio network to the main base station antennas, allowing the network to continue working.
- Cell Site Antennas: These are the antennas for connecting to the network.
- Wireless Access Points: These connect devices like routers and computers to the 5G network.
What is a Safe Distance from a 5G Cell Tower
The FCC’s guidelines recommend that people keep antennas a safe distance away from antennas that are broadcasting 5G cell phone radiation.
In general, a safe distance from 5G cell towers is greater than 25 feet because the radiating beams are far enough to prevent exposure to RF radiation exceeding safety standards.
How will 5G change the tower industry?
As 5G is a brand-new standard, it’s difficult to predict with any certainty what it will mean for the tower industry. With the new standards comes a lot of change and uncertainty for the industry, but there are certain things that can be predicted with certainty.
One of the biggest changes will be demand. For the first time in a long time, the demand for cellular equipment is expected to outpace the ability to supply it. New and innovative manufacturers have expressed a great deal of interest in the 5G market, but production and supply will be difficult to manage on a large scale.
Another likely change is that the 5G site will be completely different than the typical cellular site. Traditional sites like cellular base stations and cell towers will almost certainly be replaced with newer, 5G-only equipment, but this equipment will be smaller than older sites and located in different places.
How to Become a 5G Tower Technician
There are four main steps to becoming a 5G tower technician. These include choosing an apprenticeship, gaining qualifications, finding work, and staying in the field.
Below is the process to become 5G Tower Technician:
- Choosing an Apprenticeship
Choosing an apprenticeship should be the first step for anyone interested in working in the tower industry. Apprenticeships are great for younger workers and can help future technicians gain valuable work experience, while also giving them the chance to progress through their chosen industry.
- Gaining Qualifications
This will vary depending on the chosen path and the industry. However, the majority of 5G technicians will require a professional engineer (PE) or engineering technician (ET) qualification to work safely on cellular sites. Others may also benefit from computer-based qualifications, such as cITA (Cyber-Physical Systems) and cGTA (Construction GEneration and Testing Analysis).
- Finding work
Finding work is another important step for anyone interested in the field. Work shouldn’t be difficult to find, with many employers looking for technicians during the 5G boom.
Benefits of Becoming a 5G Technician
For most technicians, the most exciting part of becoming a 5G technician is the technology itself. New wireless standards are always exciting, but they don’t really change the types of challenges that technicians face every day. Becoming a 5G technician, however, opens up a whole new world.
For example, becoming a 5G technician will introduce you to new technologies, new equipment, and exciting new customers. Every business will be looking to upgrade to the latest 5G technology, and there won’t be enough technicians to meet demand.
Beyond the excitement of meeting new clients, working in the 5G industry will also mean spending time studying future technologies. We know that 5G is the future, but we don’t know exactly how it will develop. Becoming a 5G technician means that you’ll be ready to help your customers understand how 5G technology works, and how they can use it.