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Holding its Own: IBTUF IX

By Mike Collado
January 26th, 2015

The ninth annual Verizon In-Building Technology Users Forum (IBTUF) stood strong and focused last week in spite of the buzz around the spectacular meltdown (or come-from-behind victory, depending upon team loyalties) during the NFC Championship Game and the 2015 Texas Inauguration.

Following the trend of recent industry events, the agenda at IBTUF included hot topics such as Small Cells, Public-Safety, CPRI and C-RAN (a/k/a Cloud RAN or Centralized RAN which, notably, have two different implied meanings).

We at SOLiD enjoy a good debate and, therefore, applaud the inclusion of these topics on the agenda. So here’s our take…

  • Small Cells: The promise of quick and inexpensive operator-specific densification continues to be slowed by the realities of an absence of a repeatable process for backhaul, site acquisition and network management. The industry says 2015 will be a year of significant progress for small cells but we’ve heard that before. See more here, here and here.
  • Public-Safety: The relationship wireless operators have with public-safety is a lot like oil and water – the two sides don’t naturally mix (see Donny Jackson’s front row seat commentary when this was debated recently at LTE North America). Operators cite technology, liability, financial and network management as key objections to getting involved in public-safety. Through FirstNet, it seems that involvement is inevitable but clearly there’s a wide chasm to cross which informs that, for now, commercial and public-safety networks will be separate layers.
  • CPRI: The selling point of CPRI is reduced TCO – both CAPEX (eliminates need for POI conditioning) and OPEX (power and temperature efficiencies) – by interfacing directly between the head-end and base station. However, it’s hardly an open standard as each network equipment vendor has their own unique interface flavor. Plus take-up for “digital DAS” solutions has been slowed globally and particularly in North America. See analyst Joe Madden’s insights here.
  • C-RAN:  Whether the meaning of “C” refers to “Cloud” or “Centralized”, this is a strategic approach to enable operators to deploy new technologies and services both faster and more cost-effectively to achieve accelerated time-to-revenue over the long run. Initial deployments have been in Asia which makes sense given the dense urban areas and that operators own the fiber (SOLiD fronthaul solutions support one of the world’s first and largest C-RAN deployments for SK Telecom). But the U.S. is different than Asia due to expansive geography and who owns the fiber. For C-RAN to find a home here, the data tsunami must become significantly unmanageable.

 

As always, it was wonderful to network with our customer, partners and friends in the wireless industry. See y’all next year!

 

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Welcome to Austin!

 

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The home of IBTUF two years and running.

 

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Folks came near and far to see us. So, maybe it had something to do with us updating the score of the NFC Championship game!

 

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Anticipation… The booth build up

 

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SOLiD booth compound

 

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CityDAS outdoor densification street pillar (a collaboration with ConcealFab and Galtronics) hosts DAS, Small Cell, WiFi, Public-Safety and Lighting, and is deployment-ready with power, meter and cutoff plus battery backup.

 

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SOLiD iDAS/oDAS solution suite

 

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SE Dadrian Carrington can not only juggle complex DAS projects but swag, too!

 

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Trainer Lakshmin Thiagarajan

 

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Team SOLiD mixing it up with friends and colleagues

 

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Teamwork: Dennis Rigney and Ken Sandfeld

 

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Until next year, y’all!

 

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Kicking Off 2015 at the NEDAS Philadelphia Social

By Mike Collado
January 8th, 2015

The still-recent intonations of the holiday tune “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” served as an apt soundtrack to last night’s industry social in chilly Philadelphia which was staged by the Northeast DAS & Small Cell Association at the Yards Brewing Company.

(Of course to Chicago-based Amy Sesol single-digit temperatures must have seemed downright balmy!)

As always, the event drew a great crowd from the wireless industry and provided one of the first opportunities of the year for business development.

Visit the NEDAS’ Twitter page for more photos!

 

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Come in from the cold, Jeff Reale (Intenna Systems)

 

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The ring leader: Ilissa Miller (iMiller Public Relations)

 

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Jose Burgos (Unitek), Mark McAveety (REDWING) and a sliver of Doug Fishman (Squan)

 

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David Tramdaks, Noel Garcia and Bassem Iskander (H&M)

 

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Chris Schwab (Bluestone) and Linda Maurer (H&M)

 

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Always good networking at NEDAS events

 

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Coming attractions in warmer months!

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2014 Most Read Posts

By Mike Collado
December 29th, 2014

P1010744As we close out 2014 (and to quote Frank Sinatra, “It was a very good year…”), here’s a look at the top 10 Inside Story posts you read this year.

In many ways, our industry advanced.

But we also continued to wrestle with past questions.

We enjoy bringing you our insights and look forward to sharing our thoughts and observations with you in 2015.

Would you do us a favor? Use the comments below to tell us what you like and don’t like about our posts as well as what you’d like to read about more next year.

Here’s to a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Thanks for reading!

 

Number 1: The DAS Equipment Vendors
An oldie (from 2011) but goodie… In just three short years the OEM landscape continues to change!

Number 2: Teenagers, Standards & Education: Themes at BICSI Fall Conference In-Building Panel
Questions abound from design and deployment stakeholders on ownership, choosing among DAS or Small Cells or WiFi, and public-safety.

Number 3: WiFi on a DAS? First ask yourself why
Convergence and all-fiber infrastructure inform that the industry will keep wrestling with this question.

Number 4: Where are the Small Cells?
Process and technology continue to be obstacles for widescale deployment of small cells.

Number 5: What are the Business Models for In-Building Coverage for Healthcare & Why Look at Them Now?
A look at who should own, pay and manage the network for DAS deployments in hospitals.

Number 6: Advice Before You Jump Into A DAS Project
Practical advice whether this is your first DAS rodeo or not.

Number 7: Not Quite Super, But a SOLiD Week in Vegas
Observations from the latest incarnation of CTIA’s annual conference: it’s ain’t over yet…

Number 8: Playing it Safe in the Big Easy
In spite of a slow start, FirstNet is narrowing the gap between the commercial cellular and public-safety industries.

Number 9: Densification is a Toolbox Approach. So, Now What?
Now that the industry has advanced from “DAS versus Small Cells” to a “toolbox approach”, it begs the question of how do we decide?

Number 10: oDAS + Collocation = FTW
We predict an oDAS renaissance where OEMs innovate small cell-like solutions to lower the coverage canopy beyond macro and high-power 40W DAS.

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The Wireless Stadium Evolution and Revolution

By Seth Buechley
December 18th, 2014

FistAmericans love football almost as much as their smartphones. Stadium technology sits in the middle of these great passions, so keeping ahead of the demand curve is a huge task for those of us fortunate enough to be in the wireless industry. Don’t be alarmed, but significant change is underway in stadiums and arenas around the world.

As you read the articles or experience live games at the stadiums highlighted in this edition of the Stadium Tech Report by Mobile Sports Report, you’ll come to understand that ensuring a quality game-day experience doesn’t end with the roster, coaches and playbook. It also shows up as blazing-fast upload and download speeds; the ability to watch replays on mobile devices from different angles than what’s on the Jumbotron; and a host of mobile applications whereby a fan can buy and receive a new Russell Wilson jersey without leaving his seat and identify which restroom location has the shortest wait line.

Law of Supply and Demand

I recently attended an Oregon Ducks game at Autzen Stadium, which is supported by a brand new distributed antenna system (DAS) currently serving the nation’s two largest operators (learn more here). I observed again how we fans use our smartphones to memorialize and share our experiences.

Wireless industry experts forecast that the consumption of mobile data will increase more than 6 times over the next 5 years. However, within certain highly concentrated locations such as stadiums, the demand for mobile data is expected to exceed macro capacity not by a factor of 6 but, rather, by a factor of 10, 15, or perhaps 20, according to research from iGR (learn more here).

Put simply, wireless capacity demand on game day at venues that hold 20,000, 50,000, 80,000 or 100,000-plus fans outpaces supply. Which is why, as evidenced by surveys conducted by Mobile Sports Report, the majority of NFL and many college stadiums have deployed DAS or Wi-Fi or both to densify the macro network.

Advancing Our Connected World

Remember the “The Right Stuff”? The movie, adapted from the Tom Wolfe novel, details the race to space against the then-Soviet Union where success was measured by going higher, farther, and faster. The fledgling U.S. space program required both evolutionary and revolutionary strategies and solutions. Our industry’s wireless toolkit must similarly advance to ensure that our connected world includes the stadium.

Today, that means the ability to scale to address near term capacity demands and the KPIs of multiple wireless operators and, in many cases, essential two-way radio and public-safety communications. All this must happen while venue owners and operators are also focusing on minimizing cabling infrastructure and space requirements in public and “head end” areas.

But, in the near future, the wireless toolkit must become significantly more intelligent to deliver additional revenue services creating value that extends far beyond basic connectivity. For instance: Metrics and analytics that can be used by the venue for one-to-one marketing programs with fans; the ability to precisely locate a fan who is in need of emergency care; or dynamic routing of capacity from inside the stadium to outside the venue after the game and ultimately to areas along major roadways or public transportation.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 9.26.35 AMWhat’s Coming and When

Evolution is about improving existing solutions by making them faster, smaller, or cheaper. The original Mini Cooper was evolutionary because it was small. Revolution is when a radically new platform or approach is introduced. In keeping with the automotive analogy, Tesla is revolutionary because it is different. Both have merits but only one represents an industry step-change.

DAS and small cells are evolutionary wireless network densification solutions built upon architecture deployed within the macro network but sized for deployment at the venue. Both continue to evolve at a brisk pace and today represent the most cost-effective and efficient method for filling in the capacity holes at venues.

In contrast, the next-generation networks will look vastly different from today’s approach. Fundamentally, these networks will be distinguished by a fiber infrastructure and network intelligence. These revolutionary networks will be nearly infinitely scalable and enable support for multiple RF- and IP-based services as well as over-the-top (OTT) applications. Most notably, they’ll enable virtualization to “shift” capacity to where it is needed within the network and deliver network and user analytics to provide new ROI business models.

We believe we’re in the late stages of the network evolutionary period and that revolutionary solutions will emerge over the next few years. The wireless industry has a perfect the opportunity to innovate and deliver sports fans unique experiences at their favorite stadiums.

(Note: this article by SOLiD president Seth Buechley recently appeared in College Football issue of the Stadium Tech Report from Mobile Sports Report in which SOLiD is a sponsor)

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