August 10, 2018
Working in Wireless: Into the Sky as a Cell Tower Climber .
There are more wireless connections than people in the U.S., yet few of us are aware of the workforce behind our favorite devices.
The unsung heroes? Cell tower climbers. They call themselves “tower dogs,” reflecting the spirit required for a job that asks you to leave your fear of heights on the ground.
Cell tower technicians specialize in maintenance, installation and decommissioning of cell tower components. They are trained to safely climb communication towers to install, repair and maintain antennas and other equipment used to transmit and receive the radio waves that make our wireless networks work.
Cell tower climbers are essentially the backbone of today’s connected world.
If existing tower equipment needs maintenance or repair, the technicians will address the issues using hand or power tools. Cell tower technicians install transmission equipment components, including antennas or antenna mounts, transmission lines, surge arrestors, connectors and tower-mounted amplifiers. Tower climbers also ensure all antennas are level, hardware is tight, hangers are properly fastened, proper supports are in place and adequate weather proofing has been installed.
We’re talked a lot about how 5G will change wireless communications—and it will change wireless jobs too. Instead of climbing traditional hundred-foot towers, tower climbers are increasingly focused on installing 5G infrastructure the size of pizza boxes, called small cells, on utility poles, streetlights and the sides of buildings. As wirelessly-enabled technology advances, the industry is also deploying drones to help climbers perform routine inspection tasks safely and more efficiently.
The advent of 5G also means that tower climbers are in even more demand. With estimates suggesting that over 800,000 small cells will be deployed to support dense 5G networks, those in the cell tower industry are ramping up their recruitment efforts to employ more cell tower engineers and technicians.
Our country’s “tower dogs” are crucial to our country’s acceleration in the race to 5G and a critical sector of the 4.7 million jobs supported by the wireless industry across the U.S. We look up to them in more ways than one and thank them for their hard work to bring wireless coverage to Americans across the country.
It only takes about an hour or two install a small cell, but approval can take a couple of years. Proposed FCC rules modernizing historic and environmental review are a critical first step. Action like this at every level of government could add hundreds of billions to the U.S. economy and power innovations that will reshape our lives. We need new rules for new 5G networks. We’re ready to make 5G a reality. Are you?