Why does 5G not work in rural areas & How to increase its coverage there?

Why 5G not work in rural areas & How to increase its coverage

Rural areas are often the forgotten stepchild of the telecom industry. It’s a huge untapped market for providers. While it is clear that 5G technology offers incredible benefits and a massive opportunity to connect the unconnected, it needs to be accessible to everyone, everywhere, and this is a challenge.

When we talk about rural areas, we’re referring to places that include smaller towns, cities, and rural communities. These places might be considered remote or sparsely populated.

There are so many people in rural areas who don’t have access to modern technologies, this can be incredibly frustrating as they miss out on the benefits of this new technology. So why does 5G not work in rural areas? 

Some major reasons for the lack of 5G coverage in rural areas are discussed below.

Reasons for Lack of 5G Coverage in Rural Areas

There are a few reasons why 5G may not work in rural areas.

1. Distance from the Cell Tower

The closer a cell tower is to the customer, the better the coverage. In rural areas, this can be difficult.

In addition, many rural areas are far from a cell towers.

2. Antenna Technology is Old

The second factor is the antenna used to communicate with the tower. Antenna technology has advanced over time, but in rural areas where there is less infrastructure (and fewer opportunities to install antennas), older technology is being used.

Due to this reason, 5G may be harder to achieve in rural areas.

3. Lack of Cell Towers

Another important factor is the number of cell towers that are operating. Most rural communities will only have one cell tower.

This is where fiber optics come in. Fiber optic communication offers the highest bandwidth of any known network technology.

4. Signals Interference

Another factor for the lack of coverage is interference. Radiofrequency (RF) signals need to be directed at specific frequencies and devices.

In a rural area, interference can occur from a lot of different sources including microwaves from other devices.

5. Amount of Traffic in the Area

In a rural area, traffic may be sparse. A cell tower will only get one call at a time.

So if a cell tower is close to a town or city, that town or city will always be ahead of the cell tower in the queue of calls.

6. Lack of Infrastructure

The physical infrastructure that supports wireless technology in rural areas is often poorly maintained.

Because the demand for wireless service is low, there is a lower chance of cell towers being replaced or upgraded.

7. Low Population Density

In a rural area, the number of people is usually low. This means that the population density is low and this makes it unattractive to providers.

Moreover, the demand for service is also low. As a result, the capacity for the cell tower is limited.

8. Poor Signal

The signal strength of a cell tower will vary based on the location of the cell tower.

Cell towers in rural areas may not be able to get enough power to reach the entire community.

9. Lack of Demand

One of the other reasons for the lack of 5G coverage is the lack of demand.

In rural areas, the demand for cellular connectivity is often very low. If demand is low, the cell tower capacity is low and the network is likely to be congested.

10. Geography of the Area

There are many slopes in rural areas. The higher the slope, the weaker the signal.

Moreover, a hill or mountain can also affect the signal of a cell tower.

11. Limited availability of Land

In rural areas, there are often more barriers to the expansion of wireless networks. For example, it may be difficult to expand a cell site to meet the growing needs of the area.

How Can 5G Coverage be Improved In Rural Areas?

Fortunately, there are several ways we can improve 5G services in rural areas: 

1. Improve Existing Infrastructure

Network Providers need to invest more in upgrading existing towers with newer technologies like carrier aggregation and antenna diversity.

This can help them better utilize existing spectrum resources for faster speeds even over long distances. 

2. Invest In New Technologies & Installations

Providers should look at installing new antennas or other network equipment where it makes sense economically.

This would allow expanding coverage into rural areas without sacrificing the quality of service or speed performance. 

3. Utilize New Frequency Bands & High-Speed Networks

Many rural areas now have access to newer frequency bands such as mmWave. They can provide much higher speeds than traditional bands used by 4G LTE networks, although these bands don’t travel as far due to interference or terrain obstructions.

To get around this problem, mobile providers should look at deploying high-speed backhaul links between cell sites. This would enable them to take advantage of these faster frequency bands while still providing reliable service over longer distances. 

4. Improve Network Capacity Through Small Cell Technology

Small cells are low-power transmitters designed specifically for dense urban environments. They could also be used strategically in rural settings where demand is typically lower but expanding coverage is still desired (for example; along highways). 

Utilizing small cells helps increase network capacity over large regions while keeping power requirements low enough to be viable economically. 

5. Reduce Interference Through Focused Antenna Arrays

Interference levels increase significantly when trying to deploy high-frequency signals over long distances, especially when multiple towers are involved. This leads to signal overlap (known as co-channel interference).

To combat this problem effectively, mobile providers should consider using focused antenna arrays. This concentrates transmission beams into tighter patterns so as not to interfere with each other over long distances thus reducing interference levels significantly without sacrificing range or speed performance too much. 

By making use of some of these methods network providers can ensure that everyone has access to modern networking technologies regardless of where they live, improving both people’s quality of life and economic development opportunities across entire regions including those located in rural settings!


In conclusion, while there are numerous reasons why 5G doesn’t currently work well in rural areas, there are steps providers can take towards improving this situation so everyone has equal access to the amazing potential offered by next-generation wireless technology.

Also, with this investment in steps come many advantages such as; Improved communication abilities, Greater access to educational resources, Economic growth opportunities for local businesses, and much more all thanks to 5G technology!

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