like autonomous vehicles will gain huge benefits from the faster, larger data transfer. 5G will also enhance the Internet of Things (IoT) by increasing the amount and speed of data flowing between multiple devices, and may even replace the fiber-optic backbone relied upon by so many households. The country that owns 5G will own many of these innovations and set the standards for the rest of the world. For the reasons that follow, that country is currently not likely to be the United States. 1 “How America’s Leading Position In 4G Propelled the Economy,” Recon Analytics, 16 April 2018, - Propelled-US-Economy_2018.pdf . 2 Susan Crawford, “China Will Likely Corner the 5G Market - And the US Has No Plan,” Wired , 20 February 2019, .
DIB 5G Study Preliminary Release, 3 April 2019 8 Spectrum Use and Options Spectrum use and availability are the most important factors in fielding a viable 5G network, as they will determine the speed, volume, and latency of data transfer going forward. 4G data transfer capabilities cannot keep pace with current demand, and the 5G step-change would address the increasing rate of data consumption by fielding a functioning 5G network using mmWave bands, sub-6 bands, or both. The following sections describe the relative strengths and weaknesses of mmWave and sub-6 approaches, as well as their potential applications and roles in a future 5G ecosystem. Millimeter Wave (mmWave) MmWave spectrum operates in high frequencies found between 30 GHz and 300 GHz, and is attractive for a number of reasons. First, the shorter wavelengths of mmWave create narrower beams, which in turn provide better resolution and security for the data transmission and can carry large amounts of data at increased speeds with minimal latency. Second, there is more mmWave bandwidth available, which improves data transfer speed and avoids the congestion that exists in lower spectrum bands (prior to researching potential 5G uses of mmWave frequencies, the only major operators in that area of the spectrum were radar and satellite traffic). A 5G mmWave ecosystem would require a significant infrastructure build, but could reap the benefits of data transferred at up to 20x the speed of current 4G LTE networks. Finally, mmWave components are smaller than components for lower bands of the spectrum, allowing for more compact deployment on wireless devices. Outside of its physical properties, MmWave is also attractive to U.S. 5G developers because the U.S. government owns large swaths of the sub-6 spectrum, particularly in the 3 and 4 GHz range, making it difficult for carriers to purchase dedicated spectrum licenses at FCC auctions or even to share that part of the spectrum. However, mmWave has its share of challenges. While its short wavelengths and narrowness of its beam allow for improved resolution and security of data transfer, these qualities can also restrict the distance at which mmWaves can propagate. This creates a high infrastructure cost,
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