A major challenge facing the converging cellular and wireless industries is enabling signals to ubiquitously permeate homes and offices. The problem of sufficiently covering inside areas will get worse as higher-frequency spectrum is used.
There is, of course, no major problem worth its hype without a group of vendors offering sure-fire solutions. Late last month, ABI Research released a report that says revenue from in-building wireless systems will grow from $3.8 billion last year to more than $15 billion in 2013. What is interesting, in addition to four-fold growth revenue, of course, is the fact that there are a relatively large number of technologies taking aim at the problem. These include various types of antennas, picocells, femtocells, coaxial cable, fiber and CAT-5 cabling.
Cellular carriers are eager to provide in-building wireless to residential users, especially as more become interested in fixed to mobile conversion, which is leading them to chuck their landline phones altogether. Nor is it hard to make the case for improving wireless in the office. This AutomatedBuildings.com Q&A with Dr. Anand Iyer, the president of the In-Building Wireless Alliance, lays the case out well. While there certainly is a good level of wireless connectivity in the workplace, the alliance sees revenue and public safety benefits in doing a better job of sending wireless and cellular services to parking garages, elevators, open areas and other in-building locales.
This ADC release says the company planned to demonstrate its All IP-Radio Access Network (IP-RAN) at the CTIA Wireless show this week in Las Vegas. The system is designed to improve coverage in a number of areas, including within premises. The IP-RAN family includes FlexWave base systems, the UltraWAVE GSM Networking platform and the FlexWave Universal Radio Head, which extends coverage to hard-to-reach places.
In-building coverage was but one of several factors complicating the build-out of high-capacity, convergence-capable networks cited by panelists at a CTIA show presentation reported on by RCR News. Indeed, the panelists said that having enough raw bandwidth -- an issue that a non-expert might expect to be paramount -- was only one task among many. David Cutrer, the co-founder and CTO of NextG Networks, said significant capital will be spent in this area.