Sizing Up the Gains, Pains of 5G mmWave

Matt Kapko | EditorFebruary 21, 2021 3:00 PM

The introduction of millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum for 5G networks presents network operators with a unique, and in many cases, first of its kind assortment of challenges and opportunities.

The vast majority of 5G deployments to date ride on mid- or low-band spectrum, but the dramatic gains that mmWave spectrum can deliver in speed, capacity, and lower latency are without compare in the context of mobile architecture.

However, the costs operators will have to endure to deploy robust and reliable 5G mmWave networks are massive. And therein lies the rub. At least until equipment, and specialized use cases can help offset those costs.

Much of the early hype around 5G focused on mmWave because executives could point to gigabit-plus speeds, lower latency, and fantastical use cases, but the economics don’t bear out and are unlikely to until later this decade.

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