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Advanced geodata: the key to unlocking 5G

Exponential growth in data services and connected devices (think IoT) are driving demand for greater communications network capacity and speed—a trend that will only intensify with the rollout of fifth generation (5G) networks underway.

Network planners already face immense pressure to optimize existing infrastructure while reducing costly network tuning and field validations. Now, the challenges of 5G small-cell planning (to increase capacity and speed) add even more complexity to their undertaking.

With expectations of delivering 1 Gbps, 5G networks will rely on high-frequency spectrum in the 3-6 GHz range, a signal so sensitive it can be blocked by the palm of your hand. In order for these high-frequency antenna to provide optimal coverage without significant redundancy, smart network planning is more critical than ever. And while we’ve seen advancements in RF software and propagation models, little has changed in the quality of the underlying geodata (or geospatial data input)

Propagation simulations are helpful only if they reflect the real world. Before, if a tree line had grown significantly since the collection date of your geodata, it wasn’t the end of the world (aka your network plan). Now, it could be.

Additionally, while currency is important, so is resolution. If you can’t see down to the tree line, what good is up-to-date geodata? That’s where resolution comes in.

DigitalGlobe is leading the way with the highest resolution commercially available –30 cm resolution—close enough to see the lines on a pitch—and <3 m CE90 positional accuracy (meaning there is a 90 percent probability an object is physically positioned within a 3 meter radius of where the satellite image depicts the object).

All of that is nerd talk for not only can you see potential obstructions more clearly, you now have a more accurate measurement of where they sit on the earth―drastically improving the reality of your propagation simulation models. Allowing RF Engineers to make decisions with confidence.

But it’s not just about the small picture. Our geospatial big data platform, GBDX, leverages machine learning and high-resolution satellite imagery to accelerate the development of this highly detailed geodata on a global scale.

As urban sprawl is rapidly increasing population density in new areas, RF engineers need new microcell installments to support the influx of users. Third-party geodata models are limited to what’s been purchased, often leading to the hassle of managing multiple vendors to access the appropriate coverage―a potential lag in productivity.

Instead, working directly with the source expedites access to current geodata as well as increase coverage availability. You can now tailor your model to fit your network needs. And that’s exactly what DigitalGlobe enables its telco customers to do.

All four major U.S. carriers have announced 5G network rollouts. The race is on, but the need to maintain SLAs as these rollouts occur may be an even greater pressure than being first to market. Working directly with DigitalGlobe offers flexibility―get exactly what you need, how you need it. Our ecosystem of partners broadens our capabilities, enabling us to deliver cutting-edge 3D models, DSMs, DTMs and more.

Meet Digital Globe at 5G & LTE Latin America 2018.

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