Category: Coverage and Capacity

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Taking stock – the importance of connectivity

As the industry catches its breath after the annual flurry of activity around Mobile World Congress (MWC), it’s a good time to quickly reflect on some of the trends for the rest of 2017 that emerged from the event. Cutting through the usual hullaballoo it was possible to identify three key themes: the accelerating evolution and commercial relevance of the internet of things (IoT); the emergence of extreme low latency as the key differentiator in 5G; and the growing importance of neutral host. Of these themes, it is perhaps most encouraging to see genuine progress on IoT. There are still...

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Urban and rural small cells: Are operators fighting the wrong battle?

It may seem ludicrous to describe the deployment of small cells as an emotional issue, but when it comes to outdoor small cells, the planning meetings are anything but rational. Communities are concerned about the thin-end-of-the-wedge that new cell sites represent and fight tooth-and-nail to prevent what they see as a despoiling of their environment. Local authorities and municipalities are often underinformed as to the issues and options for small cell deployment. Unable to evaluate alternatives, the result is stasis. At the recent HetNet Expo a panel of telecoms executives voiced their frustrations at this situation. The group called on...

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Enhancing indoor coverage: The spectrum sharing opportunity

Over recent years, mobile operators have faced falling or flat lining revenues, while the demand for enhanced indoor cellular coverage and data capacity has continued to grow at an unprecedented rate. Operators’ struggles to deal with these twin challenges are directly impacting businesses. A Nemertes survey revealed that a staggering 94% of businesses globally agree that the quality of cellular coverage affects their business in some way. However, what’s even more concerning is that the same survey found that 45% of those businesses are seriously frustrated with their mobile voice quality. These frustrations mean that business owners are increasingly prepared...

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LTE Small Cells – improving the value proposition of satellite backhaul applications

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a Global VSAT Forum (GVF) conference, chaired by ip.access partner Huckworthy, on the topic of cellular backhaul. The GVF typically looks to promote the satellite communications industry, and given the overlap in vertical markets between satellite and small cells, their invite to attend a cellular focused event was too good to refuse. The day consisted of around 15 speakers from industry (including our own Nick Johnson), each talking on a topic roughly aligned to the conference subject of satellite backhauling for cellular. As each speaker presented and then engaged in Q&A with...

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ip.access at the Leading Edge

We’re pleased to announce our involvement in the 5G-PPP affiliated Horizon 2020 Project SESAME.  Building on the fundamentals for virtualised, de-centralised RAN, multi-operator deployment and edge intelligence, the SESAME consortium has a great mix of players from around Europe. Led by the Greek operator OTE, our group includes large and small vendors, research institutes, universities and consultancies, to solve the technical and economic issues arising in next-generation mobile networks. As the project culminates in a practical demonstration, ip.access’ product line and market positioning will gain a massive boost, feeding into European industry and global consumer experience as 4G networks complete...

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Multi-Operator Small Cells: the Network of Today for the Customer of Tomorrow

Multi-Operator Small Cells are still a rarity.  Yet building owners are crying in the wilderness for cellular in their buildings.  Complaints from owners of buildings regarding the quality of their coverage are met with mystification and inertia by the mobile operators.  We don’t see customer complaints, say the mobile operators.  No, say the building owners, because they complain to us.  Ah, so it’s your problem, says the mobile operator to the building owner.  And the conversation spirals downhill from there. Why is Wi-Fi so successful indoors, yet licensed radio small cells indoors still seen as exotic?  As with most technology...

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Evaluating Google’s new virtual mobile network strategy

Google’s launch of its virtual mobile network, Project Fi, isn’t necessarily a traditional mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) scenario; where a consumer brand looks to add mobile services to its portfolio, like Virgin Mobile does on EE’s UK infrastructure. Instead, Google has moved to a position where it can convert traditional mobile operators into utility pipe providers and replace them in the eye of the customer. Clearly a long-term plan for Google, this announcement hints at a huge number of implications for operators. Although initially offered only to Nexus 6 handset owners in the US, Google will no doubt be...

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Does poor mobile coverage at work really have to be a given?

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes…and unreliable mobile phone reception at work.” The great ‘founding father’ Benjamin Franklin knew the certainty of the future, but maybe now we should add the bit he missed. Why? Well what would he have thought 250 years ago if the candle he needed to work by wouldn’t light? Consistent mobile connectivity is a puzzling problem that we face. When you consider the extremes man has gone to develop amazing technology that can read your mind, create cameras to film the movement of light, and smart glasses...

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Think data growth is slowing? Think again.

Cisco recently published its VNI forecast for this year.  In the face of the periodic “data crunch denial” stories, I’ve been tracking this for the last few years, looking for evidence that the data growth is over.  But guess what, it’s not.  The forecast continues to grow on roughly the same exponent as it has the last three years.  There was a correction between 2012 and 2013, but since then – steady as she grows. The world still needs small cells, even if not everyone realises it yet!