February 24, 2020
While many in our industry focus on the science of 5G, appreciation for its art is often forgotten. The science of 5G seems obvious, spanning sub-6 GHz to mmWave and massive MIMO to beamforming. And yet, 5G is equal parts science and art.
As proof, look no further than the many attempts to disguise cell towers as trees. 5G cell towers now dot the landscape like arboreal wonders of the world. Some are convincing, some are not. Disguising a cell tower as a tree is like transforming a school bus into a luxury RV — the bus always lies conspicuously beneath.
The tower closest to my own home reaches for the sky like a mighty redwood that’s been transplanted 3,000 miles from its Pacific Northwest home. This majestic “Monopine" is a bit less conspicuous when the trees around it are more fully leafed in spring. It stands proudly, undaunted by changing seasons or unflattering reviews, while faithfully delivering four bars of reliable coverage.
As I drove past this gentle giant last week, I thought about the artist busily modeling the next 5G-enabled ash, poplar, elm, sable palm or saguaro cactus. This artificial arborist toils with steel, fiberglass and acrylic to create trunks, bark, branches and the “faux-liage” needed to convince the passerby. His work inspires me poetically, with apologies to author Joyce Kilmer.
I think that I shall never see 5G lovely as a tree. A tree whose antenna leaves are prest, by Raycap STEALTH® at Sprint’s request. A tree that looks not like a tree, yet lifts RF and sets her free. A tree that may in summer wear balloons and bags blown in her hair. Upon whose branches snow has lain, or birds may seek to nest in vain. Poems are made by fools like me, but only carriers make 5G a tree.
This article first appeared in Brent's Musings on Microwave Journal.
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