The role of new licensed, unlicensed, and shared mid-band spectrum (2-6 GHz) is vital in continuing the widespread adoption of 5G networks. The FCC is continually freeing up more mid-band spectrum, including coveted frequencies within the C-band, CBRS, and unlicensed bands for 5G NR-U. It provides capacity improvements and wider coverage needed for an increasing surge in 5G-connected devices. To capitalize on its balance between faster throughput and coverage, currently scheduled and future network deployments must prepare their network infrastructure for upcoming mid-band spectrum allocations. However, this is no small task. Network designers and mobile network operators (MNO) must meet aggressive deployment schedules while accommodating new spectrum allocations without needing to rip-and-replace band-limited network components.
5G improves throughput due to its gains in spectral efficiency (bps/Hz) compared to 4G LTE and utilization of higher-order modulation schemes—however, the new mid-bands result in added path loss than low-band (<2 GHz). Integrating optimized, high-performance, and lower loss components enable the optimal capabilities of 5G networks and new mid-band spectrum allocations. Additionally, utilizing wideband components that support all 5G FR1 bands, including the upcoming auction of mid-band spectrum, future-proofs the network design, which helps minimize the scope of replacing deployed infrastructure and reduces total cost. Successful 5G implementation that accommodates new mid-band frequencies requires network densification to support improved network capacity. However, MNO and network designers must fulfill these demands within aggressive deployment schedules. Therefore, the availability of a mid-band solution when needed is of vital importance. However, solutions are rarely one size fits all. For example, the new spectrum induces new band combinations for small cells depending on the site infrastructure region. Thus, site-specific combining challenges require unique, specialized solution development. Partnering with the highest quality solutions supplier can merge a network designer's expertise with the solution supplier's product expertise. Through comprehensive and targeted design and product consultation, networks can ensure an optimized design and timely commissioning, resulting in significant cost efficiencies. Microlab is a leading RF and microwave solution partner that can meet the challenges of 5G deployments. Microlab’s readily available mid-band 5G signal distribution, combining, and conditioning solutions like attenuators, cable assemblies, DC blocks, directional couplers, multi-band and hybrid combiners, splitters, and tappers are relied upon by MNO and network designers to enable future and existing 5G networks utilizing new mid-band frequencies. Whether seeking superior performing components for maximum 5G capacity and coverage, or unique site combining solutions backed by professional design consultation, Microlab can help enable the next generation of wireless infrastructure.