In this video, 5G Technology World interviews Corning’s Michael O’Day about composite cables use to deliver both power and light to 5G small cells.
With all the talk about small cells, mmWave frequencies, fronthaul networks, and significantly higher data rates, we often overlook the less glamourous but essential practicalities of 5G: getting data and power to the cell. Corning and EnerSys are addressing that issue by jointly developing a composite cable that delivers both power and fiber to 5G small cells.
Because small cells will accept standard AC mains power and covert it to DC, you might think that the cables will deliver the voltage you get from you AC mains outlet. Not so because as with delivering electrical power over long distances, AC mains voltages will lose too much power because of IR drops in the cables. Thus, the power delivery will use the same high voltage that typically arrives at your local power pole. A transformer close to a cell site will drop the voltage before delivering it to the cell. Because small cells will need to be in proximity, especially in dense urban areas, a transformer may support more than one small cell.
Small cells, which will surely handle mmWave frequencies, need a fiber front-haul connection from the cell to the network. In this “Deepening of the fiber network,” cells will connect to local fiber rings.
You might think that combining power and fiber in a single cable will result in two installation crews. As O’Day explains in the video below, Corning and EnerSys are working to create a technology so that telecom crews can do the install without the need for electric utility crews.