Industrial Automation

Everything that Matters in Your 5G Deployment Now and in the Future

Friedrich Haussmann

It’s official: 5G is now scaling faster than any previous generation of mobile technology, according to Ericsson’s June 2022 Mobility Report.


Older generations of this cellular technology are beginning to slow and decline as 5G steps up to offer significantly higher bandwidths, nearly delay-free connections and improved security mechanisms.


Nearly one-quarter of the world’s population has access to 5G coverage today; by 2027, three-quarters of the world is predicted to have access, according to the report.


This time of change puts many organizations in limbo: While the future clearly points to 5G, it’s not ubiquitous yet.


Full 5G adoption will likely require an investment in new hardware that’s more expensive (for now) than the hardware that supports previous generations, such as 4G. Why? Because the products now need to operate at a higher performance level to support 5G technology. In the future, as 5G becomes more pervasive, however, it’s likely that hardware prices will drop.


In addition, deploying 5G-enabled hardware today doesn’t automatically guarantee access to a 5G network. The technology also has to be available in your area (unless you’re establishing your own private 5G network).


Invest in 5G Now or Later?


Given the current status of 5G, how do you know when the time is right to invest in 5G hardware? In our opinion, it comes down to your application. Not all applications will require 5G—especially those that have low data rates.


To determine whether 5G technology is the right fit for you, it’s important to consider how you plan to use it. Mission-critical, high-performance applications that call for high speed, low latency and large capacity will benefit from 5G the most.


These types of applications could involve:


  • Autonomous vehicles
  • Artificial intelligence and virtual reality technology in outdoor settings
  • Smart factory automation
  • Remote diagnosis and monitoring in healthcare
  • Streaming video from public safety cameras


What’s Required for a 5G Upgrade?


If and when you’re ready to upgrade, then it’s important to understand that your active and passive equipment—routers, antennas, cables, etc.—may need to be replaced.


Because 5G networks are capable of operating in various frequencies, for example, new antennas may be needed to accommodate different frequency bands.


Too often, an investment in 5G infrastructure is made only to later discover that the network doesn’t perform as expected. Users get frustrated with dropped connections and slow service. This lackluster performance occurs when the system isn’t designed for true end-to-end function. Every component within the system is crucial.


Just like tires impact the performance of a new car, ancillary equipment matters when it comes to 5G performance. You can invest in a high-end vehicle, but you’ll experience poor handling and performance if the tires are poor quality. They won’t be able to safely turn or grip the road—or stop in a reasonable amount of time.


The same holds true for 5G. You may have access to 5G technology, but your equipment and infrastructure will determine how well it works for you.


Let’s use antennas as an example. The right high-performance antenna placed in the right location and precisely tuned will enhance 5G transmission distance and signal quality, so it performs as expected. High-quality antennas ensure an excellent user experience, too, because they’re less likely to fail or have performance issues as compared to antennas made with low-quality components.


Successful 5G deployment will likely require new antennas that are designed to offer better coverage, less interference and more data capacity than existing antenna technology.


And because 5G supports many more connected devices simultaneously at much higher data rates, more antennas will be needed in order to meet this demand from the infrastructure side. This means routers need to—and sometimes even have to—match their antenna configurations or they might suffer slower speeds or be blocked from network access.


Support for Your 5G Deployment


If 5G is in your future, then finding a partner that understands the importance of every component that makes up your 5G network is vital.


Belden’s in-house team of solutions experts and consultants can help make sure your system is designed and installed correctly, with proper attention given to each component within your network.


Our Customer Innovation Centers (CICs) act as hubs where you can work side by side with us to brainstorm, design, test and implement robust, reliable and secure networks to drive the business performance you need from your 5G investment.


Learn more about some of the solutions we offer for 5G networks.