5G Disruptions: A Two-Minute Tech Read

Ian Bryant
Jun 10, 2019

We’re all aware that 5G has begun rolling out, but what you might not know is how disruptive this process is becoming. By now you’ve certainly heard that “5G is going to change the world,” connecting billions of devices into a fast, low latency network allowing for massive connectivity of devices.

This network, though, requires hundreds of thousands of small cell antennas in densely populated areas. 5G runs on a millimeter wavelength — meaning the coverage area of a single access point is small. In order to create this large, robust network, antennas must be placed everywhere possible. Cities like London — which is trying to connect 15 million homes  by 2025 — are looking to add antennas to  lamp posts and other bits of infrastructure,  but there is now legal pushback from the owners of those items. In Denver, Colorado, the service providers are installing their own “flag poles” for the transmitters, but haven’t taken into consideration the number of locations that will be needed. Imagine a small cell transmitter for each provider mounted every 250 feet inside a city!

Implementation is going to require getting over a great many legal, technical, and scientific hurdles.

It’s not just finding mounting locations for the antennas that are causing issues with 5G implementation. One other issue, for example: The network may cause a 30% accuracy drop in weather forecasting because water vapor emits a faint signal in the atmosphere at a frequency (23.8 GHz) which is right up against the 24 GHz frequency that 5G operates on.

What does this mean for us? Simply put, 5G isn’t as far along as we were all told it would be by the providers and media. Implementation is going to require getting over a great many legal, technical, and scientific hurdles. Additionally, almost no phones on the market now support 5G, regardless of what your phone’s manufacturer/provider tells you. Yes, 5G will change the world, and yes, it is a big deal — we are just a little early in the game.

On implementation in London, UK

On implementation in Denver, CO

On effects on weather forecasting

NOTE: This Emerging Trends piece is brought to you by CEDIA’s Technology Advisory Council and Technology Application & Innovation department.



  1. 2 Andy 25 Jun
    What a sensitive topic! Thanks for the update.
    I agree with Rich...Just like any avant-guard technology, risks and opportunities always co-exist in such a fast moving technological evolution period. Caution is needed but it does not mean that we shall ever pull the string back. 
  2. 1 Rich Green 10 Jun
    Thanks very much for highlighting the importance of 5G cellular data services in this post. I disagree with some of your pessimism, although caution is advised when reading inflated marketing claims. 

    There is no doubt that 5G will transform how we communicate, travel, connect and entertain ourselves, and there is no doubt that it is inevitable. A 5G node every 250 feet? Yes! Bring it on. It won't be that restrictive, however. 5G operates generally in two frequency bands yet you only point out the 28 GHz millimetre wave spectrum, which does have limited reach and penetration. The 3.5 GHZ sub-6 spectrum is much more forgiving. 

    South Korea is already deploying 5G widely. Verizon is installing 5G networks in Chicago and Minneapolis as we speak with download speeds in excess of 900Mbps. Palo Alto has 5g and Edge Networks being installed by AT&T Foundry. 

    Already six companies sell 5G hardware: Huawei, ZTE, Nokia, Samsung, Datang/Fiberhome, and Ericsson. Qualcomm is releasing the Snapdragon 855 chip this year, so we will see many more phones and mobile devices equipped for 5G. Announcements are being made by AR headset manufacturers like Nreal.


    I'm getting some of this information from recent events (Augmented World Expo) and from our good friends at Wikipedia. 


    It's OK to be cautious, but it's smart to be ready. I truly believe that 5G represents one of the biggest opportunities we've ever seen for CEDIA members. It might take some time, but bring it on!



CEDIA blog posts are intended to provide general information and should not be regarded as legal opinions or advice.

Become a member!

CEDIA members have access to training, resources, networking, and discounts that help build stronger home technology businesses.


Subscribe to our newsletter for useful tips and valuable resources.