This event has morphed and changed considerably over recent years and is now a stream within TECHXLR8. I picked out a handful of relevant talks where RAN planners shared their view on standards and commercial progress. It seems to me that the use cases, requirements and business case for 5G remain quite vague, with plenty of wishful thinking.
Many operators are deploying LTE in low frequency bands (700 and 800MHz) to improve coverage in rural and in-building penetrations. Others are looking at LTE relays as an alternative approach. We examine the differences between a repeater, a relay and an LTE small cell and look at two specific operator use cases.
Hat’s off to Fierce Wireless and Allnet Insights for an extensive graphically rich report on the current spectrum holdings by each of the main US cellular operators. This highlights the clear contrast between high and low spectrum of each of the key players and how that affects their network strategy.
There are various types of company offering to take the pain out of urban small cell deployment. JCDecaux, well known internationally for their highly visible street furniture, seeks to capitalise on their large estate of suitable sites. I spoke with Marina Marjanovic and Benoit Paquin to understand the scope and uniqueness of their approach and which regions worldwide are showing greatest interest.
SCWS, now in its 9th year, remains a regular feature of the small cell calendar. Now a two day conference, attendance was lower than some years ago but stable with noticeably more system integrators/installers actively participating. There was a little more focus on business enablers rather than technology this year, addressing deployment issues and neutral host opportunities for enterprise, urban and rural sectors.
Three countries worldwide are pioneering public safety solutions using LTE, all for quite different reasons and using different approaches. Other countries are looking and learning, waiting to determine their own strategy. It seems likely that in the long term, LTE will win out, but there are a few issues to be resolved.
This year’s UK event moved back to London into the massive Excel centre. The conference agenda was quite eclectic, raising questions about the WBA’s own longer-term ambitions. In addition to several conference presentations, I report on updates about CBRS, MulteFire and In-Building Managed Wireless services from Ruckus Wireless, Athonet and Boingo.
Prestigious hotel resort complexes need to deliver 21st Century wireless service. Neutral host provider ClearSky Technologies employed a novel technique to raise service levels for all guests and employees, regardless of which host network operator they subscribe to. Clearwater resort General Manager Paul Andrews shared his perspective on the project and what it means for his guests, employees and business.
We often hear how uncooperative municipal planners can be regarding approval for siting of urban small cells. Network operators have pushed hard at national levels to relax the rules, with success in many countries. One Californian city planner, speaking on a personal basis, provides an opposing view and cites examples where the rules have been abused and suggests ways to accelerate the process for the benefit of all.