5G is expected to represent the next-generation in cellular networks. It is said to be extremely fast, more so than what we have right now, but the unfortunate downside is that its range/reach is quite limited, meaning that trying to reach around the corner of buildings can prove to be a bit of a challenge.
However it seems that over in the UK, engineers at Vodafone might have come up with a unique way of helping expand 5G coverage, and this is done by embedding antennas inside of manhole covers. Given that manhole covers already exist, in theory it means that cities will just need to swap out the existing covers for ones that have antennas built into them.
Plus it also removes any potential distractions from cell towers that might be awkwardly placed on buildings, or ruin the aesthetics of neighborhoods. The tech is actually being used right now for 4G coverage, but Vodafone’s engineers believe that this could be similarly applied for 5G as well.
Some have expressed their concerns that the metal in the manhole covers might somehow interfere with the mobile signals, but according to James Grayling, senior network deployment manager, Vodafone UK, they won’t. “The manhole does not interfere with the mobile signals, although there is a small level of power loss caused by the manhole. This is taken into account when designing where we want to deploy such solutions.”