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22nd Feb 2022


5G: The 1st Essential Technology To Supercharge Your Construction Sites In 2022

The last two years saw residential developers and construction contractors begin to “listen to the little guy” and expediate their site-based digital transformations.

Three of the major operators are working day-and-night to rush through the rollout of their standalone 5G networks and with this new cellular technology, comes new possibilities, not including another new wireless capability, by the design of hardware manufacturers – WiFi 6.

These pioneering mobile wireless technologies compliment each other and will transform the world as we know it [including the metaverse], not just construction.

I witnessed 5G and WiFi 6 on a Willmott Dixon site in the summer of 2020 – it was amazing to see the positive impact on the site team and general operations of the art gallery – I have several examples like this that have been instrumental in proving the worth of PoCs [Proof of Concepts]. That said, in 18 months, infrastructure and hardware advancements mean today’s tech has even great power to deliver more astonishing results.

A hardware vendor I work with closely, is Cradlepoint – their innovations for Wireless WAN are cutting-edge and compared to other vendors I have partnered with previously, the Ericsson-owned SD-WAN company should be first-choice for contractors and residential developers.

Despite broadband being the fundamental utility to get a site operational, connectivity remains a genuine challenge, but it doesn’t need to be.

Yes, there are inconsistencies with digital approaches from fixed-line carriers and yes, each construction company has its own ideas on how to deliver reliable internet to site compounds, but, FTTP is not the answer.

5G and LTE-A are far more capable than fibre and should be included in all contractors digital strategies.

For example >

  1. Fibre is unable to help monitor wasted energy across a medium or large estate of vacant new homes.
  2. Wireless routers provided by fibre providers are just about good enough to connect 20 devices, ideal for low-use consumers – that’s it.
  3. Contractors on fibre connections cannot branch out to other areas on the development without severe costs.

Mobile connectivity and wireless WAN is the solution and it can be achieved on the same day in some cases.

If the hardware used is fit-for-purpose, site connectivity will be the last of your worries. An optimised LTE-A or 5G solution means fewer drops in download speeds and more reliable Teams meetings.

⚡ What is 5G? 

5G is the 5th generation mobile network and it is the new global wireless standard after 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G (LTE).

5G enables a new kind of network that is designed to connect everyone and everything together, including machines, objects and devices. [Plant vehicles, drones, tools and handheld smart devices.]

5G wireless technology can deliver up to 1Gbps download speeds with ultra-low latency, more reliability, Massive Input Massive Output (MIMO) network capacity, much greater end-user availability and a better consumer experience. Higher overall performance and improved efficiencies empower experiences and brings various industries together.

5G is faster, more efficient and smarter than 4G and any other form of telecommunications, including satellite and fibre.

⚡ Why is 5G crucial for construction? 

In a market known for slow-adoption, the construction industry has a responsibility to adapt much quicker because it is so heavy with data use. Contractors need the latest technology to build faster and to achieve this, the workforce needs the most flexible form of comms – 5G and WiFi 6.

A developer’s main aim is to build and sell as soon as possible to aid cash flow. To do this at an elite level, without disruption, 5G, WiFi 6 and IoT will improve operational efficiency and reduce overall risk.  

I have personally seen 5G on more than one thousand sites since May 2019 and its ultra-high performance allows for more options for contractors to digitise and improve their building processes. For those contractors that utilise data-hungry BIM and other similar applications, 5G mobile broadband and WiFi 6 will become as vital to them as air is to me breathing.  

Other applications where 5G is required includes the monitoring of wasted energy in vacant plots, waste reduction, preventing health and safety issues in real-time, enabling site teams to edit and save large files instantly from handheld smart devices. 5G will be very popular because it enables the possibility of leveraging real-time updates, thus improving site-based reporting across several remits – all this made possible from fibre-fast mobile internet.

⚡ 5G Mobile Broadband 

If the digital future of construction is to be taken seriously, developers and contractors need to invest in 5G and WiFi 6, now.

The Cradlepoint R1900 is the best enterprise endpoint to aid in delivering wireless WAN across site compounds – our engineers have experienced download speeds in excess of 400Mbps across multiple locations last month, such as Aberdeen, Doncaster and Oxford.

With data speeds as fast as that, why would you consider fibre? Especially when it takes months to install!

Construction site 5G broadband is a game-changing solution, but only for those willing to enjoy the difference.

If you think your company would benefit from better workflows, a smaller carbon foot-print and less expended energy, mobile connectivity is your answer, regardless of the type of site.

Tardis solutions are on HS2 site compounds, Highways England projects, in listed buildings across several cities and in plots, enabling people to work from home.