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TONY HAYS, San Clemente
In the San Clemente Times dated February 6-12, the photo accompanying the article “Council Approves Ordinance Regulating Sites for Cell Towers” is somewhat misleading. The photo shows a macro cell site, which is relatively large both in size and power, whereas the ordinance covers small cells—which, as the name implies, are small in size and power.
The antenna and equipment shroud are cylindrical with a maximum diameter of about 15 inches, and a combined height of about 5 feet. Typically, they are installed on the top of the vertical section of an existing concrete lamp post.
They are fairly easily visible, but a relatively small addition to other things on streets, such as traffic signals, road signs and streetlights themselves.
The installations that the phone companies are requesting will be 4G (i.e., current technology), but they will be upgraded to 5G as cellular systems are upgraded throughout the world.
Compared with 4G, 5G offers several orders of magnitude increase in capacity (the number of connected devices per square kilometer) and transmission rate (in bits per second), combined with about one-fifth the latency (the time it takes a packet of data to travel across a network).
These capabilities will be required for the large-scale operation of autonomous vehicles.
On the personal level, they will relieve us of the boredom of highway driving, and they will also reduce accidents. Vehicles will be connected via 5G towers to artificial intelligence in the cloud to operate the vehicle, and they will also communicate with other nearby vehicles using a special 5G protocol.
This will enable them to travel very closely together, and studies have shown that highways could carry almost three times the level of traffic as compared with today’s highways. Similar benefits could be achieved on surface streets, especially when vehicle movements are coordinated with traffic signals.
The result is that there would be no requirement for widening Interstate 5 in the foreseeable future, nor for the extension of the 241 Toll Road. So the city of San Clemente should encourage the early adoption of 5G technology.