Small Cell Network 320
Small cells: fiber: Exchange: Cloud RAN: Core: Internet or PSTN. I believe Verizon has made the decision to spend ~$20B and add enough small cells to cover 1/3rd to 1/2 of the U.S. The major construction will be from 2019 to 2022. 

At the edge, 100,000-300,000 new small cells will provide both LTE and 5G service to perhaps 40M homes. They expect to do well enough to extend the build across the United States. All will have 5G millimeter wave fixed access. It will use the 28 GHz band and TDD coding. Likely speed will be ~ 5 gigabits, peak, shared. Most homes will be able to access a gigabit almost all the time because generally the cell will be lightly loaded. 

Latency will be under 10 milliseconds but not the 1 ms highly touted. Putting the intelligence back in the cloud makes 1 ms impractical. To get 1 ms, a massive network of "edge computing" would be needed. Neither Verizon nor any other telco has publicly committed to building that edge computing net. The cost would be massive and the market for 1 ms isn't apparent. Virtual reality is designing for 10 ms. Even the connected car doesn't need to go that low. João Barros of Veniam tells me, "3ms latency is enough for even the most stringent connected vehicle applications." 

When I saw both Verizon and AT&T planning cloud RAN, I knew 1 ms wasn't happening for a decade or more.

 

 

Verizon Small Cell
Verizon Small Cell

 

 

 

dave askAugust 2018 Verizon's $20B 5G build is starting to add customers in 2018. Gigabit LTE & Massive MIMO became real in 2017 and enow expanding worldwide. Almost all the other "5G" is mid-band, 70%-90% slower + hype. Europe is mostly pr. The term 5G has been bastardized, unfortunately.

Being a reporter is a great job for a geek. I'm not an engineer but I've learned from some of the best, including the primary inventors of DSL, cable modems, MIMO, Massive MIMO, and now 5G mmWave. Since 1999, I've done my best to get closer to the truth about broadband.

Send questions and news to Dave Burstein, Editor. I always want to hear from you, especially if you catch a mistake.

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 5G Why Verizon thinks differently and what to do about it is a new report I wrote for STL Partners and their clients.

STL Partners, a British consulting outfit I respect, commissioned me to ask why. That report is now out. If you're a client, download it here. If not, and corporate priced research is interesting to you, ask me to introduce you to one of the principals.

It was fascinating work because the answers aren't obvious. Lowell McAdam's company is spending $20B to cover 30M+ homes in the first stage. The progress in low & mid-band, both "4G" and "5G," has been remarkable. In most territories, millimeter wave will not be necessary to meet expected demand.

McAdam sees a little further. mmWave has 3-4X the capacity of low and mid-band. He sees an enormous marketing advantage: unlimited services, even less congestion, reputation as the best network. Verizon testing found mmWave rate/reach was twice what had been estimated. All prior cost estimates need revision.

My take: even if mmWave doesn't fit in your current budget, telcos should expand trials and training to be ready as things change. The new cost estimates may be low enough to change your mind.