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.
One of the critical factors limiting more widespread small cell rollout by third parties has been the lack of access to spectrum. The US government is addressing this through CBRS. The UK Government last week published a forward looking paper on the Future of Telecom Infrastructure covering both fixed and mobile services through the next 15 years. In amongst the usual hype and ambitious targets, there were some interesting snippets that open the possibility for small cells in new frequency bands, including by neutral hosts, private networks and others.
This month sees another big shake-up for the small cell industry, with Reliance Industries, the largest private company in India and owner of Reliance Jio acquiring Radisys, a software business supplying telecom software stacks to a wide variety of equipment vendors worldwide. We examine both companies and consider the likely outcome for the future.