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Radio specialist Movandi says 5G running costs could be halved with repeaters

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Wasteful use of radio means that total cost of ownership of 5G is twice the running cost that it could be

A new whitepaper from analyst Mobile Experts claims that 5G network construction is needlessly expensive and in some cases double the price it could be. The white paper, compiled by analysts from Mobile Experts, say the problem stems from expensive radio resources being squandered in the mad rush to build networks as soon as possible. Corner cutting by network builders has added cost to every generation of mobile network, the white paper says.

The good news is that the waste can be tackled now, according to the authors of Repeaters Cut 5G mm-Wave Costs in Half.

The authors from Mobile Experts specialise in 5G, edge, cloud and IoT development. They endorse a claim made by equipment maker Movandi that its 5G mmWave system could cut costs by 52 per cent on millimetre wave broadcasts for 5G networks and any future generations. Movandi was founded by frustrated inventors formerly employed at network equipment maker Broadcom.

Throwing hardware at the problem was punishingly expensive 

Joe Madden founder and chief analyst Joe Madden at Mobile Experts, said the study aimed to assess whether new networks take advantage of a repeater’s potential to reduce millimetre-wave network cost. It concludes they don’t and that network builders are repeating the mistakes of the past. Traditional 4G, 3G and 2G network builders would typically throw hardware at a problem. By lazily adding more radios to increase capacity, rather than using them more judiciously, they created network that were needlessly expensive.

That profligacy is being repeated in a 5G mm-wave scenario, according to the report. But it’s worse in the 5G context because, unlike pre-4G radios, 5G gNodeBs have significantly more capacity - albeit with a limited range. Therefore, any expansion that involves adding more radios wastes the available radio capacity while dramatically increasing costs and installation complexity.

In one example cited, a network with 10 gNB and 85 wired repeaters would has a total cost of ownership (TCO) of $6.6M over ten years, but 48 per cent that TCO was avoidable, said Madden.

“This study confirms our own findings,” said Reza Rofougaran, CTO, and founder of Movandi who claimed the repeater will also improve the end-user experience. Rofougaran called for new network design models based on millimetre-wave frequencies because Movandi’s virtual platform makes these ‘lofty goals of 5g’ possible and the costs affordable. Movandi's networking approach is based on it own patented 5G millimeter-wave chipsets, RF power amplifiers, MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) antennas, BeamXR smart repeater modules and BeamX algorithms and software.