With many new terms and technologies being introduced or becoming mainstream during the past year, I thought it might be helpful to recap on the naming, capability and timescale of significant new developments relating to our industry. Perhaps you are entirely familiar with all of these, but I often find newcomers can be somewhat perplexed or overwhelmed by yet another acronym.
Expect soon to see headline rates for Gigabit LTE, enabled by a combination of standard LTE aggregated by LAA. Commercial service will be launched before the year’s end. But what are the implications for backhaul bandwidth and is our infrastructure ready to take the strain.
Many will be taking a well deserved holiday summer break and perhaps catching up on some reading. My choice wasn’t the latest thriller but instead a book on 5G by William Webb. He provides some strongly argued reasoning to justify why we shouldn’t assume 5G will be a natural winner. I wonder if it could be a distraction from a more commercially sensible evolution?
Virtualisation has been a hot topic throughout the industry in recent years with questionable benefits to date. The latest initiatives look to virtualise the RAN but in practice this means choosing where to place certain network functions. But is there a risk of confusion from too many competing options? We consider what business benefits these are most likely to deliver?
I had the opportunity to witness what it’s like moving into a brand new tower block apartment in London recently where some relatives moved in. I was struck by the contrast between the high standard of basic services provision with the thoughtlessness of cellular service. The industry seems be getting distracted with 5G while simply ignoring the needs of its customers.
Hats off to TMN for highlighting this end-of-life product announcement from Cisco in April that had been generally overlooked by the media. We summarise the announcement, discuss some of the history/reasons behind it and comment on implications for the industry.
Cambridge Wireless Small Cell SIG ran a half-day event on rural and remote small cells, with expert speakers from EE, Nokia, Microsoft and Real Wireless. There is clearly both need and opportunity. Technical progress continues but the overall theme was that a change in operator mindset is needed on how best to deploy and support them using different processes from the traditional macrocell methods.
Steve Saunders, Founder and CEO of LightReading, published a provocative article about the current state of network virtualisation. He believes the industry has abandoned its proven standardisation process resulting in confusion rather than achieving their promised benefits. Will his approach solve the problem and get the industry back on track?
DAS and Small Cells have in past years been positioned as strong competitors rather than collaborators. New technical solutions, new opportunities and new thinking are radically reshaping that perception. We consider some of the recent product announcements and regulatory changes which affect that view.