Category Archives: Wireless Networks

More and More Small Cells, But Where’s the Gain?

Small cells are meant as a solution to address the explosive growth in mobile data services, right? Well, the answer is: it depends! They can be a solution under certain conditions, but not always. Yes, there could be situations where small cells add little if any gain. In fact, more than one operator mentioned to me little or… Read More »

Branding And The Wireless Value Chain

A close look at Interbrand’s best brands report reveals interesting results and insights on the wireless industry. Focusing on brands related to the telecommunication industry, which includes hardware, software, and content providers we find the following top brands for 2012:

How Small Cells Are Reshaping The Wireless Landscape

There’s much talk about small cells these days – on industry news sites, at conferences, in corporate announcements. This is not surprising given that mobile traffic doubles every year and, according to Cisco, will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 78 percent from 2011 to 2016. Wireless network architecture has relied greatly on macrocells, but… Read More »

Small Cells and the Predictability Challenge

Anyone closely involved with small cells base station could not have failed to notice the contentious debate on backhaul capacity requirements. On the one hand, vendors of millimeter wave equipment advocate the need to support peak capacity figures, while on the other hand, vendors of other types of backhaul solution including point-to-multipoint systems point that the peak is… Read More »

In Focus: Interference in the 2.4 GHz ISM Band

In my previous blog entry, I set out to answer the question of how much WiFi is deployed. Here, I like to focus on the question of interference.  Unfortunately, I think there are fewer studies that characterize WiFi usage and interference than there ought to be. I will show here a few of the results and conclusions and… Read More »

How Much WiFi Is Out There?

The success of WiFi is nothing short of outstanding. Who would have thought that wireless network operators would adopt the technology and deploy WiFi access nodes in their tens of thousands to off-load their wide area networks? But with more carrier WiFi being rolled out in addition to your typical enterprise and personal access nodes, how much WiFi… Read More »

Would The Slicing and Dicing of Mobile Traffic Bound Growth?

In a mid-year update on global mobile data traffic growth, ABI forecasts that the volume will exceed 107 exabytes in 2017, which is eight times the expected volume in 2012. According to ABI research analyst Aapo Markkanen “2015 will be the last year when the traffic volume will grow by more than 50% annually. And that will happen… Read More »

It’s the Signaling Stupid!

If you have been following the wireless industry, you for sure would have heard of the capacity crunch and exploding demand for mobile traffic data services. Hardly any presentation by a vendor, analyst, and even operator starts without a graph of future traffic trends. But quietly, another problem has been brewing; one that has received little media attention,… Read More »

Evolution of the Air Interface: From 2G Through 4G and Beyond

Below is a link to a recent presentation I made to the local IEEE Ottawa Chapter and the Alliance of IEEE Consultants Network (AICN). I trace the evolution of the air interface of wireless systems from 2G (GSM, CDMA/IS95) through 3G and LTE to LTE-Advanced.

Reaching The Limits of The Physical Layer: The Slow Shift To Enhancing Efficiency.

There is a general view that we are rapidly approaching the capacity limits of the physical layer. But as demand for capacity continues to grow, the supply of capacity is tapering off. What to do about this and how to continue to inject capacity is being addressed at standardization meetings. Let’s take a quick look at some of… Read More »

Cloud RAN vs. Small Cells: Trading Processing for Transport Cost.

Perhaps you heard of Cloud-based RAN (C-RAN), the latest acronym in the mobile industry. If you are familiar with “base station hotel,” then you’re familiar with this mobile network architecture. C-RAN takes the distributed base station architecture to its extreme: It pools the baseband processors in a central location and distributes remote radio headends which are connected through… Read More »

TD-LTE and the Hype Cycle: Where’s the Business Opportunity?

As a new wave of hype is building around TD-LTE, I wonder what the fuss is all about. For certain, TD-LTE is not a groundbreaking technology – it comes many years after WiMAX and quite a few after its older FD-LTE sibling. But what intrigues me most is the business model for TD-LTE and especially the dilemma of the TDD spectrum holder: what is a winning business model that maximizes the value of my operation and company? Without such a model, TD-LTE will be yet another technology toddler that never makes it to adulthood.

Use Cases for the 2.5/2.6 GHz Spectrum: Macro or Micro/Pico Cells?

Should operators deploy a macro or micro cellular architecture in 2.5 GHz band? This is not a trivial question particularly for an incumbent wireless operator that already holds spectrum in lower spectrum bands. The same can be said of Greenfields looking to capitalize on the exponential demand for wireless data services.