Nokia recently said that its new 5G technology could reach at least 5 million old 4G towers without the need to climb them.
Telecommunications companies are fast-tracking the upgrade of their infrastructure to support 5G. However, many are facing a lot of technical hurdles, including the lack of manpower to climb cell towers. Nokia said that it has an alternative software suite that can upgrade 4G towers without the need to climb them.
Upgrading 4G towers to support the new communication technology presents a lot of problems. It ranges from expenses, equipment compatibility, and acquiring new permits. Most of these 4G towers also require climbers to upgrade some of its equipment manually.
Nokia claims that instead of sending tower climbers, the company can upgrade existing 4G towers using software update. The company said that the software update is currently available for around 1 million 4G towers. The company plans to expand this rollout to reach at least 3 million towers before the end of the year.
We're proud to announce that by 2021, we will be able to migrate 5 million legacy 4G units to #5G, offering a seamless and cost-effective upgrade to our customers and installed base. https://t.co/sumrAm9EkW pic.twitter.com/D9jEFTZN9m
— Nokia (@nokia) July 14, 2020
Nokia is confident that it can reach 5 million towers by next year. If this new software update is feasible, it will be extremely efficient in terms of the country-wide rollout of 5G. In terms of scope of efficiency, China is expected to upgrade just 600,000 towers by the end of the year.
Nokia said that telecommunications companies could save billions of dollars if they use its software upgrade method. The company added that since its software platform is also faster and more efficient.
Issues with the method
Although Nokia is flaunting its software upgrade method as efficient and cost-effective, there are some limitations to it. For one, there are hardware limitations that will not allow the towers to accept new 5G frequency.
The majority of 4G cell towers only support 2.5GHz radio frequencies and below. On the other hand, high-speed 5G frequencies are rated at 24GHz to 39GHz. This means that even with the software update, there are still hardware limitations in these 4G towers.
This is just one of the many limitations that Nokia is facing. On top of that, the company has yet to confirm the actual price of using its software upgrade platform. The company says that the method is “cost-effective” but has never cited the actual price.
Despite some of these limitations, several network companies have partnered with Nokia to roll out these updates. T-Mobile is using it to roll out its low band 5G network across multiple regions.
Image courtesy of Paweł Czerwiński/Unsplash