It is not surprising that the race to 5G is accelerating: A tremendous amount of money is on the table and very powerful and smart players are lining up to try to win it.
The latest sign that the progress is being made is the announcement this week that Verizon, in conjunction with Samsung and Ericsson, will begin 5G trials in 11 cities during the first half of this year. The carrier says that the tests will include several hundred cell sites and several thousand customer locations.
RCR Wireless says that the pilots will focus on customer experience and gaining insight into network and millimeter wave performance. The cities are Ann Arbor, Michigan; Atlanta; Bernardsville, NJ; Brockton, Mass.; Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Sacramento, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
Still Another Wi-Fi Spec Coming
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is working on a new version of Wi-Fi that promises to be shockingly fast and offer vastly extended range. It’s a blip on the horizon now, but it has begun the inexorable march toward becoming a commercialized standard.
The next super-fast nascent standard is 802.11ay. It is, according to Wi-Fi Now, a version of 802.11ad that enables bonding of as many as four 2.16 GHz WiGig channels and four-stream multiple in multiple out (MIMO) antennas. The result is a link rate of a “staggering” 176 gigabits per second (Gbps). The story suggests that 802.11ay is aimed at backhaul uses because “[i]t’s hard to imagine that a household or human being would ever consume that kind of bandwidth.”
Mobile Video Increasingly Popular
The depth to which smartphone video has embedded itself with the public is evident in a research released this week by AOL Advertising. The firm found that 57 percent of consumers watch video on their phones daily, according to MediaPost. Sixty-seven percent of respondents use mobile video to some extent, which is only a touch behind the 70 percent who watch it on their desktops.
People like short videos: Fifty-nine percent of respondents watch videos that run less than 60 seconds daily, while only 31 percent watch videos of 20 minutes or more. The story said that advertisers’ use of mobile video is growing. The survey focused on seven markets.
Pole Attachment Rules Chill Competition
One of the low profile but significant obstacles to service providers moving into new territories is the difficulty of gaining access to the telephone poles to which their cables must be attached. It is, according to Light Reading’s Mari Silbey, a daunting task:
Here’s how it works. In certain cities, new broadband entrants have to contact the owner of each utility pole as well as each telecom provider already using the pole in order to have existing equipment moved around to accommodate new broadband gear. In some cases those requests have to be made sequentially, and with each request, it can take up to several weeks or even months for an active response.
Silbey says that Google Fiber last year claimed that it had, after months of outreach, only gained access to 33 of 44,000 poles that it needed to set up shop in Nashville. The final arbiter may be the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has put pole attachment on the list of topics to be tackled by the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC). BDAC members have not yet been named.
Columbus Drives for Smart Mobility Supremacy
The Columbus, Ohio area is trying to use an emerging technology to pull itself up. Computerworld reports that an 11-county region is focusing on smart mobility and autonomous vehicles. The key is the 540-arce Smart Mobility Advanced Research Test Center. The center, which is being built with $45 million in funding from the State of Ohio and Ohio State University, is an expansion of the 4,500-acre Transportation Research Center.
Last June, Columbus won a $40 million from the Department of Transportation in its Smart City Challenge. The grant was matched by $10 million from Vulcan Inc. and $90 from the private partners.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at [email protected] and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.