Some argue millimeter wave signal propagation–which is limited, compared to loer-frequency signals–is not a “bug” but a valuable feature.

Millimeter waves (3 GHz to 300 GHz radio waves) have propagation issues that limit the distance such signals can travel, for example. That is why, in the analog era, before low-cost signal processing, such frequencies were not so extensively used to support communications networks, and when used, were restricted to point-to-point backhaul applications, where high-cost equipment could support trunking functions (per-instance, per-user, per-customer or per-passing economics always are much better wherever such functions are shared in the network).

But Siklu argues that propagation limitations actually are helpful. Such propagation limits also mean that millimeter wave signals are less prone to interference than signals that propagate much farther. Less interference means base stations and radios can be deployed close together, according to Yigal Leiba, Siklu CTO. So cell site density is easier to manage. 

New spectrum, shared and unlicensed new spectrum, as well as small cells, will allow internet access providers to provide the 1000-fold increase in internet access capacity envisioned for 5G. Small cells, better radios and modulation methods also will help.