By Tom Gruba
Vice President, Marketing | Telrad Networks
For the better part of 16 years, I have been entrenched in the wireless broadband space. I was part of the small team that launched Motorola Canopy™ in June 2002. In some regards, that was eons ago, but in other ways, it seems like just yesterday. Small wireless internet service providers were eager to join the market as unlicensed 2.4 GHz and 5.2 GHz bands provided an attractive business case.
Telecom operators, on the other hand, were skeptical of anything in unlicensed bands since their business model was not set up to take on the risk of losing service due to interference.
Since that time, some of the companies have fallen by the wayside or changed names, but many of the early adopters are still playing major roles in the evolution of wireless broadband, which has used various technologies, Wi-Fi, Mesh, proprietary Point to Multipoint and now standards-based LTE.
So where is it all headed and who will be the visionaries?
They will be the companies that build upon the engineering successes of our predecessors and who can expand their networks to meet the growing demands of video streaming.
Here are six trends that we see shaping the market:
Streaming Video. Gone are the days of simply being connected, viewing web pages and shopping. Why? Because households and offices are streaming video to multiple devices simultaneously which chews through operator capacity. SD to HD to 4k evolution will keep the pressure on capacity.
Software-defined Radios. Service providers want to add capacity to their networks without a tower climb to upgrade equipment. One solution is to deploy software-defined radios, which allow for remote capacity upgrades without a truck roll.
Standards-based. Service providers of all sizes want to deploy quality, standards-based fixed broadband wireless access solutions at price points that generate profits, increase their ROI and give them more vendor options and more exit value.
Changing How consumers buy broadband. Not many end users know the difference or impact of buying a 15Mbps best effort service compared to a 25Mbps best effort service. With multiple streams per household, operator capacity is being consumed with no increase in revenue. In rural markets, the trend will be for operators to offer packages based on the number of streams the customer wants supported, bringing clarity to the user for what they are actually buying.
Evolution Path. Operators know that video is usurping capacity. LTE’s roadmap goes to LTE-Advanced, LTE-Advanced PRO and then 5G. Operators care less about what it’s called and more about how much more capacity can be delivered incrementally. LTE standards are driven by 3GPP via the GSMA.
Non-Line of Sight – At the end of the day reaching end-users in any environment increases the market share per tower. LTE is a NLOS technology and the standards will continue to advance and enhance this capability. Non-line of sight also means never having to say I can’t serve you which occurs after spending operator time and energy to determine the customer can’t be served. A loss for both parties.
These six trends will result in variations to the business models of operators to accommodate the need for increased capacity (simultaneous streams) and speeds (driven by 4K video) that the end-user is expecting. LTE Fixed broadband wireless equipment will evolve via the standards in order to provide the best experience for the end user and ROI for the operator. Follow us on Twitter @telradnetworks for the latest developments in fixed LTE.
Telrad Networks is a global provider of innovative LTE broadband solutions, boasting over 300 4G deployments in 100 countries. Telrad stands at the forefront of the technology evolution of next-generation TD-LTE solutions in the sub-6 GHz market. Since 1951, the company has been a recognized pioneer in the telecom industry, facilitating the connectivity needs of millions of end-users through operators, ISPs and enterprises around the world. (telrad.com)