Analyst: Although 5G standard isn’t final, cable companies will have a big role to play

DENVER–The 3GPP is tracking to complete the non-standalone variant of the 5G specification with the 5G New Radio specification tracking for completion in mid-2018. Pointing this out during the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, Keith Hayes of Broadband Advisors Group said, “Today we’re looking for Bigfoot. It’s something everybody has heard about but nobody has seen. What is it. Where is it? When is it?”

Regardless of the exact time frame, “There is an intersection coming and it’s a question of how the industry is going to approach that intersection. Our wireline networks will tie-in to support a wireless network. I’m really focused on the physical layer.” 

Addressing the need for increased network density, Hayes cited, “The PAC conundrum–power, attachment and connectivity that all these radio in the 5G world are going to need. You’ve got to be able to increase your bits per square meter. Where might all that capacity come from and how might the cable networks be able to tie into it? 

He said as technologies including multi-channel carrier aggregation and network slicing, it will require a more flexible approach to spectrum. “You’re going to have different blocks of spectrum in different areas.”

The value of cable companies’ HFC plants in the evolution of wireless networks was a predominant theme at the annual event. In a separate panel discussion, executives from Ericsson and Charter discussed the opportunity cable companies have in support of the network density requirements 5G will likely command.





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