5G Network Densification
Network Densification is the process of increasing the number of cell sites by adding small cells and fiber optics in a geographic coverage area.
According to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA), the USA is served by approximately 349,344 macro cell towers. These were deployed over the past 25 years.
Many experts are predicting between 750,000 and 1,000,000 small cells will be deployed in the next 10 years. This means that cell networks will increase 3x in terms of cell transmission sites.
Here are the top 10 tower owners of towers according to Statista:
American Tower, Crown Castle and Vertical Bridge’s sister company, Extenet are the leaders in small cell deployments in the United States.
4G vs. 5G Cell Structure-Densification
One of the fundamental architectural differences of 5G vs 4G is the configuration of the cells serving a city. 4G utilizes Macrocell technology from towers supplemented with Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) for the largest indoor sites such as airports, stadiums and large office buildings. 5G will utilize small cell technology to get the antennae closer to the user.
The primary benefit of this architecture is:
Lower Latency, Higher Capacity, Better Coverage and Lower Cost per Meg.
Here is a visual representation of the 2 Architectures. In 4G architecture large cells cover a geographic area. The inset shows the density of 1 of these cells when small cells are deployed.