What Do You need to Know About 5G Base Station in A Light Pole?
We are going to face huge challenges and issues in achieving quality lives, effective transportation, efficient energy transmission, and security if we don’t improve our network infrastructure as soon as possible. The increasing need for smart and intelligent systems has put the network providers on notice to enable the use of such services that can support the development of smart city infrastructure, along with offering new business opportunities in the future.
In other words, there is a strong need for a faster network infrastructure such as 5G, that promises rapid data transmission over long distances with lower latency and higher bandwidths. The present mobile networks will be unable to cover the large number of users that are equipped with digital services shortly. Due to this reason, there is a lack of understanding of critical smart city services, which can only be understood if we have a reliable and effective network in place. This network should be a high-frequency system that must be adaptable to the small cell radio technology.
The installation of 5G network offers some restrictions for the network providers and users, which are:
- First, the base station and the network’s connection usually comes in the way of many underground utilities. HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling) and trenching might lead to critical damages.
- Secondly, the range of the signals gets shortened because of their high frequencies, usually because of the crowded and denser placement of light poles (base stations).
- And finally, there shouldn’t be a delay of more than 1 millisecond in the network i.e., it does not tolerate poor network latency rates.
Because of the significant differences in the heights of a base station and a light pole, the placement of a 5G base station in a light pole is restricted to provide a lesser coverage area, with the location of the base station’s antenna being much lower than the usual. Furthermore, high radio frequencies are hazardous for the light poles because of the emission of ultra-high radiations and ground disturbance.
5G radio units associated with the light poles have the capacity of serving only one network at a time such as 2G, 3G, 4G, etc. If the number of networks increases, the telecom operators along with the equipment used in the system such as antennas, radios, cables, and data centres also increase. Although, the number of cables gets decreased because of the integrated antenna, which is possessed by the 5G radio unit to eliminate the need for radio frequency cables.
The light poles usually act as supporting structures for the base station’s antennas, which in turn locates the 5G radio units present in the network. These antennas are specifically designed in such a manner to provide smooth and transparent signal flow between the units. Also, because of the network’s latency limitation of 1 millisecond, the data cannot be brought far from the network for processing. Hence, small data centres need to be built that are allowed to operate near the network.
Along with all the benefits the 5G base station has to offer, there can be some issues and challenges that can be encountered by them such as reliability requirements, which can cause a major threat whenever facing any interference like power disruption or ground disturbances. Whenever there is a disruption or interference, 5G radio units usually operate with 48V DC batteries to ensure the normal operation of the system. With AC power, the system requires a huge number of radio units to be involved in the operations, and hence the size of the system gets increased remarkably. Therefore, AC power is not advised to be followed in such scenarios.
Cables, which serve as a transmission medium for the lighting poles, are usually laid through micro-trenching or with the process of HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling). Both the power and data transmission cables are generally combined to be placed in a common space, which is smaller enough to accommodate two cables as a single hybrid cable.
After the installation of power and data transmission cables for the base station, the lighting pole will become a smart pole, which will provide digital services to the consumers. An example of that is the usage of sensors, which will monitor the data provided by the lighting poles, delivering the information to control the lights for the road users.
One of the active devices present in the base station is the Baseband Unit (BBU). Its function is to utilize the 5G radio unit by processing the signal and simply transmitting it to the mobile network. Because of their large size, BBU’s are normally located under the lighting pole inside a cabinet along with the batteries and rectifiers.
For better performance, data generated from BBU’s of numerous base stations should be collected and processed together in a common data centre. This method is known as the C-RAN architecture, where optical fibre cabling is used as a transmission medium for each radio unit. C-RAN architecture works on Wave Division Multiplexing (WDM) to transfer large volumes of data through multiple network channels.
If we talk about the recent developments in 5G base stations, then we can observe that several testing networks have already been created to test the capacity and reliability of the stations. Commercially, we will first observe the rollout of 5G technology and its application on the existing base stations along with a few new locations. From an application’s point of view, we will soon experience the technology of driverless vehicles, once there is a complete rollout of 5G.
In this article, we have discussed how a 5G base station works within a light pole along with its features and differences with each other. We have identified its shortcomings due to various scenarios such as HDD (Horizontal Directional Drilling), shortage of signal range, lower latency rates, etc. There is no hiding the fact that upon its inception, a 5G base station within a lighting pole will offer several advantages by providing reliable network connectivity to the users.