There is a promised nirvana from installing a single set of CBRS small cells in a building where everybody can seamlessly access cellular service at much higher performance and lower cost. But this involves sharing the available capacity. We explore four different options to achieve that and discuss some of the implications.
Alongside paid industry analyst reports, there has been an increasing number of freely available cellular industry activity reports with five year forecasts published by major vendors and industry associations. There's a mixture of detailed statistics, differing interpretations and somewhat biassed perspectives. We offer a guided tour highlighting key attributes.
Huawei are already looking ahead at the evolution of 5G for in-building services, where 90% of wireless data is consumed. Here we can expect 100Mbps data rates, and identify the technologies and stepping stones towards that nirvana. They also foresee that in-building systems will support both low and high band 5G alongside existing 4G and earlier generation technologies.
Last month saw the Small Cell Forum issue yet another tranche of documentation and celebrated it's own 10 year anniversary. We asked David Orloff, Chairman for the past year, what to expect from the organisation in the future. He’s looking 10 years out towards a time with extensive 4G and 5G densification, strong industry collaboration through partnerships and substantial small cell take-up.
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. Progress in each of the main four sectors of small cells has been quite different. There has been much hype and distraction from 5G alongside much promise for 2018 from CBRS. Equipment vendors are under more financial pressure, both large and small, and we've seen several acquisitions. The larger vendors have all become more visible with Small Cell solutions. Business and regulatory issues have set the pace rather than technology development alone.
I helped organise and chair another successful Cambridge Wireless Small Cell SIG event, this time looking at whether DAS and Enterprise Small Cells were competitors or complimentary.
Hosted by Huawei at their UK Headquarters in Reading, the event was a sellout with over 80 registrations. This style of event is very popular, attracting mostly UK industry participants including vendors, system integrators and property developers. Networking opportunities are good, partly because of the event size and partly down to the pragmatic type of delegate. It’s less about marketing gloss and more about addressing the issues.
Google and Federated Wireless aren’t the only companies building out CBRS SAS (Spectrum Access System). I spoke with Mark Gibson of CommScope, which is well on track to launch service next year, too. He shared his perspective of the CBRS market, clarified likely timescales as well as how and where we are likely to see it rolled out.
I visited the City of London, the 1 square mile central business district within the metropolis dominated by international finance and big business. The governing body recently awarded a concession that provides free public Wi-Fi in return for street level small cell sites. Services have been launched after only 28 weeks. I spoke with both City officials and the project manager to appreciate the benefits to all involved.
Recognising that over 80% of cellular traffic is consumed indoors, Nokia takes a slightly different approach from other vendors to address the problem. We review a white paper that discusses and expounds their views on how operators can best evolve their networks to meet the indoor challenges.