Recently I have received inquiries from residents keen to learn more about the nationwide roll-out of the next generation of wireless technology: 5G.
Service providers such as Verizon and Qualcomm, among others, are set to build nationwide networks to deliver this technology.
The establishment of this new network requires the installation of new equipment known as small cell towers. These 'towers' generally will not exceed 28 cubic feet in volume and can be mounted on existing utility poles.
To supply adequate coverage however, these towers will need to be installed in high numbers throughout the intended coverage area.
Briefly, 5G is the term used to describe the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications.
The 5G technology has as its performance targets high data rates, reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, higher system capacity and massive device connectivity.
In other words, you can run your autonomous vehicle off of it. Or, put another way, today's transmission speed of somewhere around 21 Mbps allows us uncut music streaming and prompt web surfing.
5G will manage to achieve more than 10 Gbps or between 100 and 1,000 times faster, making it possible to download an HD movie in 10 seconds.
The technology will also allow millions of devices to be connected simultaneously, allowing it to go far beyond the realm of smartphones.
5G is an integral aspect of the Smart Cities initiative as it promises the opportunity to live in an environment that is truly connected.
Think streaming virtual reality, remote medical procedures, car-to-car connections, telling your robot to feed your dog back in Topeka whilst you rush to catch a plane in Kalamazoo.
You get the point.
Then there is the frequency thing. Current 4G technology operates at frequencies of 600-900 megahertz, considered very safe at the lower wattages used in small cell deployments.
These are known as non-ionizing frequencies. These low frequencies do not "excite" the electrons in water or our bodies.
This changes, however, when frequencies go above 1,400-1,500 MHz.
There are studies and research that suggest higher frequencies could cause damage as they excite the electrons in human cells.
Service providers are petitioning the FCC to use higher frequencies of around 3,500 MHz where they can transmit more data.
Microwave ovens cook food and make water boil operating at 2,400 Mhz.
I can hear you Googling now.
Key to our interest as a designed controlled historic district is the impact of the deployment of this new technology on the historic integrity of the district.
The city of Dublin, our friends to the north, have already adopted guidelines. They are outlined in Dublin's document "Design Guidelines for Small Cell Facilities and Wireless Support Structures within the Right-of-Way."
As of this writing, city of Columbus officials have stated they are in the process of establishing guidelines. We will share any and all updates we receive with you promptly.
To learn more about small cell towers and 5G technology, go to germanvillage.com/the-advocates-blog.
German Village Society Historic Preservation advocate Nancy Kotting submitted the Village Notebook column.