Building a 5G Network Block by Blockchain

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As anyone who reads Inside Towers knows, when a new cell tower comes to town, everyone knows it. Helium, a crypto-currency network founded in 2013, has plans to launch a 5G delivery system that will leave no visual mark on the landscape using home computers as cell sites. Coindesk reports that blockchain* data, which is best known for storing cryptocurrency, is being engineered by Helium and partner FreedomFi to operate an expanding 5G network.

Blockchain data works by filling blocks of data with information. When one block is full, it connects to a subsequent block in the chain. Rather than centralizing all data in a core unit like a cell tower, every individual host computer keeps a record of the growing data chain, which cannot be altered. For a non-tangible commodity like cryptocurrency, the blockchain network ensures that no data is lost, preserving the history and integrity of a Bitcoin transaction as it changes hands.  

By using blockchain delivery methods, Helium asserts that each household computer will act like a miniature cell tower linked to a network of other mini towers. “What Helium has so far done with telecoms in the wireless space is almost like Airbnb enabling people to monetize their real estate in the form of a mini hotel,” stated Helium CEO Amir Haleem. “Via our partnership with FreedomFi, we’ve learned there’s an enormous opportunity to build a 5G LTE network where every house can basically have a miniature cell tower that carriers can use to offload traffic anytime they’re near it.”

“Turning consumer gateways into network distribution tools and merging with ultra-hot cryptocurrency – consistent with the companies’ plans – may just be the step needed to help supercharge private 5G deployment,” added former FCC Commissioner, Michael O’Rielly. “Now we get to see if the market agrees.” 

*See “Blockchain Explained”  

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