Category Archives: Wireless Networks

The Cusp of a New Phase For Mobile Network Operators

The wireless industry is rapidly entering a phase of reduced spending on infrastructure. This is evident from the many operator discussions on their future plans and is inline with analysts forecast of peaking infrastructure spending at $23 billion this year. Deployments in in the US, Japan and Korea have taken their course, but still some recently acquired bands… Read More »

The Challenges of 5G Spectrum

There has never been as much uncertainty about spectrum for a new generation of mobile service technology as there exists today for 5G. GSM was set in the 800 / 900 MHz band and 3G was set in the 2.1 GHz band. Vendors aligned their products with the target bands. There was clear focus and purpose. Then came… Read More »

Edging Closer Towards Disruption in Radio Access Networks

In past articles [1, 2], I stressed that Cloud RAN is a disruptive technology. There are a few reasons for this, but I think that most critical reason is that Cloud RAN breaks open a pricing structure that’s been in use ever since the wireless industry was created. The current pricing model for base stations is based on a… Read More »

Is LTE-U DOA?

Reading some of the literature about LTE-U (and LAA) leads you to believe that its deployment is a foregone conclusion: operators love it; vendors support it, and products will be available within months. But operators lack the sales channel into the enterprise where LTE-U is envisioned to be deployed and provide most value. While LTE-U may find its… Read More »

Is LPWA for Mobile Network Operators?

You don’t need to be a wireless carrier to operate an LPWA network and provide IoT connectivity services to hundreds of thousands of devices. LPWA technologies operate in unlicensed spectrum which opens a wide door to anyone to play in the IoT connectivity space, including of course mobile network operators (MNOs). But is LPWA for MNOs? Or more… Read More »

Microcapacity: Unbinding Wireless Capacity Through Trading Exchanges

Microgeneration allows one to generate electricity for own use, typically using renewable resources such as wind or solar energy. Excess energy can be sold to the power company. The arrangement helps in evening out the variability in energy consumption. It reduces the peak load requirements for the main grid while energy generated during non-peak hours can be diverted… Read More »

Are MVNOs the Next OTTs?

The wireless market in Canada is on the cusp of changes due to new regulations that open the market for a new breed of MVNO services. Full MVNOs are now possible: they will be able to have their own mobile network codes (MNCs) and provision their own IMSI numbers. Full MVNOs own their core network including all subscriber… Read More »

Are Small Cells for 5G?

As the Small Cell Summit winds down I can’t help but wonder whether small cells are a technology awaiting 5G networks. There were many discussions on architecture at the conference which cannot but lead me to ask whether the market and technology drivers are in place for mass adoption. My reading of the situation points to further delays… Read More »

What to Shut Down First 2G or 3G?

Telenor Norway announced it will shut down 3G network in 2020; five years before 2G. This is yet another example of how operators in Europe are diverging from North American operators by opting to shut down 3G ahead of 2G. 3G is much less efficient in carrying data traffic than LTE which is twice better.  2G/GPRS is the… Read More »

Will 5G Be Irrelevant?

Last week I had the privilege to discuss the latest wireless industry trends with colleagues at the RAN and Backhaul conference. We discussed 5G in addition to host of other topics ranging from architecture to virtualization and much in between: spectrum, Het Nets, IoT, etc. As I contemplate the proceedings, I came to wonder about the relevance of… Read More »

Can Device-to-Device Communications Extend into the Home and SME?

DSL and LTE bonding is a technology that have been hovering under the radar, not receiving the attention it deserves. A few operators have been experimenting with it, and some deployed it. Vodafone targets the solution at the enterprise sector, while Deutsch Telekom sees it as complementary service in rural areas. DSL/LTE bonding combines a DSL modem with… Read More »

Meeting the Cost Requirements for IoT Devices

It seems many are convinced that the magic number for device cost in cellular M2M applications is $5. What should be the cost of a module, and how critical an issue is the device cost to start with, is a topic of debate and although I have my view on it, it is not what I will address… Read More »

Mobile Edge Compute, The Threat of OTT and Changing Infrastructure Architecture

The threat of over-the-shelf services (OTTs) to wireless network operators is well established, but as of yet, there is no clear answer as to how mobile network operators (MNOs) can ward off the OTT threat. This is evident by eroding margins where many large MNOs are now standing in the 30% EBITDA margin range, down from around 50%.… Read More »

Cloud RAN Promises to Shape Future Wireless Networks

We have released our annual Cloud RAN report with new insights and analysis on the development of this market during 2014. Cloud RAN is certainly gaining in interest in the operator community. This is due to practical reasons related to cost savings that can be realized first by the process of centralization and then by the virtualization of… Read More »

Taking Wi-Fi to Sub 1 GHz

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the catalyst for a number of new standards that will reshape wireless connectivity as we know it. Examples: Bluetooth LE, LTE-MTC, Zigbee, and LPWA standards. Wi-Fi (802.11) is also being reshaped to accommodate IoT applications. These applications have different requirements which make connectivity techniques for IoT fragmented. Competition is not limited to… Read More »