With commercial 5G launches just starting in Europe, this London event provided good focus on the industry state of play. High level speakers from US and Asia helped set the context, supplemented by well known industry analysts. This wasn’t purely about 5G basestation equipment, with exhibitors offering a wide range of services from planning to testing to applications. A celebration of what 5G technology can achieve for sure, highlighting the need for more small cells if true saturated coverage is to be achieved yet still lacking in credible 5G business cases.
While much industry attention is focussed on 5G, we take another quick progress check on CBRS, the pioneering cellular project soon to launch across the USA. We spoke with Iyad Tarazi, President and CEO of Federated Wireless who shares his insights on current progress and several exciting recent developments.
As we approach the holiday season, it’s once again time for me (and other analysts) to reflect back on the year gone by, revisit our predictions and make some new ones for the year ahead. CBRS has progressed but will not be commercially deployed until early 2019, still holding much promise. Open Source projects like TIP seem to be gaining momentum, but it remains to be seen if there were be a large breakthrough. Mainstream media continue to hype 5G. Political decisions could affect the market share of major RAN vendors. Business and regulatory issues will set the pace for next year rather than technology development alone.
Ruckus Networks are perhaps best known for Enterprise Wi-Fi, but have been an enthusiastic supporter of the CBRS initiative from the outset. We spoke with Joel Lindholm, VP LTE Business at Ruckus Networks, (an ARRIS company), to ask how their customers perceive CBRS, what use cases attract the greatest interest and how the rollout might play out over the coming year.
This recent Cambridge Wireless Small Cell SIG event was held in London, and featured an impressive speaker line-up discussing the opportunities around shared spectrum solutions, similar to CBRS, for the UK in the 5G timeframe. Spectrum access is one of several key enablers that would allow the industry to serve in-building and rural users and industry verticals that are today underserved. The UK government favours a market expansion business model for which that is an important part. We heard from government, industry and an analyst on what to look out for in the years ahead.
u-blox have just introduced a new GNSS based timing product that achieves the nano-second phase synchronisation required to maximise 5G performance. Concurrently tracking multiple GNSS constellations in multiple frequency bands, it has demonstrated a tolerance of +/- 10ns with a standard deviation of 3ns over 24 hours. This is the kind of step change in innovation and technology that will be required to achieve the full potential of 5G.
The third Telecom Infrastructure Summit was held in London this year, away from its roots in California. This Facebook sponsored initiative has garnered substantial momentum since its launch two years ago, with over 500 member companies. I'd estimate over 1,500 attended this two day bonanza, up from 1,000 last year. TIP offers a route to market for budding start-ups and innovators of cellular radio access equipment, many of which you'd consider as small cell product and component vendors.
We spoke with Chris Stark, Chairman of the CBRS Alliance, for an update on the progress that CBRS (and its brand name OnGo) have been making. He is optimistic that initial commercial deployment will be live before year end. Recent FCC filings by the SAS providers apply throughout more than 47 states, covering both indoor and outdoor solutions.
We’ve tracked the evolution of satellite backhaul for remote/rural small cells over the past decade. It’s often been considered just too expensive. We spoke with Vinay Patel, senior director, International at Hughes Network Systems. They continue to invest in new satellite capacity and are already enabling commercially viable remote small cell deployments around the world.