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Posts Tagged ‘ Small Cells World Summit ’

The Wonderful World of Wireless

By Mike Collado
June 17th, 2015

Whew, what a wonderfully crazy week on the trade show circuit!

Seemingly, the industry conspired to schedule Small Cells World, DAS and Small Cells Congress and Light Reading’s Big Telecom Event all during the same week. Plus, throw in Realcomm for good measure.

Team SOLiD pulled off the trifecta with solid participation in London, New Orleans and Chicago which are certainly not hardship cities for travel.

And we launched our new 20W DAS Remote which delivers significantly reduced total cost-of-ownership (TCO) through industry-leading power consumption efficiency, flexibility and intelligence.

The State of the Union

Based on our many conversations, we observe that it’s a pretty great time to be in the wireless industry. Sure, there’s been the “market correction” ripple effect from reduced spending by AT&T and Verizon including the former’s decisions to dismantle its Antenna Solutions Group (ASG) and pull back from its initiative to deploy 40,000 small cells by the end of 2015.

But significant trends such as the Connected Car, the Internet of Things (or Internet of Everything), Big Data, Network Virtualization and, of course, 5G are culminating to create a once in a decade opportunity for new market leadership. (See our thoughts on the “Decade of Densification” here.)

The common denominator for these milestones is the much talked about “data tsunami” that AT&T’s John Donovan quantifies as meeting the 100,000 percent increase in wireless traffic.

For those focused on the densification market, our friend Joe Madden at Mobile Experts explains the data tsunami dilemma in this manner: “Data demand is increasingly ‘peaky’ and ‘spotty’, so capacity is generally not where you need it or when you need it.”

Acceptance of the Toolkit Approach?

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 11.02.10 AMThe challenge manifests across multiple market segments including: Large Venues (stadia; airports; convention centers; subways); Middling Venues (hotels; hospitals; colleges; malls; multi-level Class A office towers); Small Buildings (office buildings and MDUs); Urban Outdoors (Westminster, Times Square, the “Magnificent Mile”); and Rural Outdoors.

(The Small Cell Forum – SOLiD is a member – has produced reports in its Release Program that explore some of these markets which are worth a read)

To address the market need for coverage and capacity, presentations at these three events helped reinforced that there’s significant innovation across the densification technology and strategy toolkit which includes LTE, WiFi, Small Cells and DAS.

(Our friend Vladan Jevremovic at iBwave summarizes these advances in slides shared in our post here.)

Which brings us to the toolkit… We’ve observed for some time the tendency within our industry to pit technologies against one another. To be sure, everyone likes a good debate. At previous Small Cell Summits, there’s been some significant hype around which market segments Small Cells will gain marketshare. Mercifully, this year’s installment had a more pragmatic tenor which echoes our long-standing position – and that of others – that there is no silver bullet or dominant technology strategy.

And that generally points to a technology and business case in which DAS handles the large venues and the Small Cells for Small and Residential Buildings.

However, Nathan Sutter at Nex-Tech Wireless shared a case study where the operator leverages Small Cells for a stadium deployment. And Peter Jarich at Current Analysis questioned why Small Cells were not deployed instead of DAS at the new JW Marriott in Austin.

For a good synopsis of trends from Small Cells World, be sure to check out this report from ThinkSmallCell.

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Courtesy of EJL Research

The Big and Complicated Middleprise In-Building Opportunity

What’s likely the to be the most compelling and most challenging market segment opportunity is the “Middleprise” which we use to refer to the middle-enterprise market that is defined as venues having 100k to 500k square feet.

Earl Lum at EJL Research observes that the middleprise (or as he refers to it as Tier 1.5 and Tier 2) is a “sweet spot” market segment for the industry.

And John Celentano at Skyline Marketing Group identifies the middleprise as the next wave of in-building wireless deployments.

To be sure, it’s a big and underserved market that is driving evolutionary and revolutionary change among both in-building technology toolkit innovations and business funding models to enable cellular and public-safety communications indoors.

It’s also complicated because there exists no cookie cutter approach… It challenges the current technology toolkit where conventional DAS and Small Cells don’t ideally scale down and up, respectively. And today’s large venue funding and ownership models likely won’t work which signals that the venue owner will need to play a new and critical role.

We’ll be sharing more in our next posts about the middleprise including observations from our in-building tour at the host hotel for DAS Congress which explored key insights including Business Models, The Densification Toolkit, Design and Infrastructure Considerations, and Public-Safety Compliance strategies.

Your Turn

What were the most important things you learned on the trade show circuit?



SOLiD Showcase at DAS & Small Cells Congress






Kevin Vierling (Director of Product Management) at Small Cells World



NEDAS Stand at the Big Telecom Event


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Mike Collado at Big Telecom Event panel (courtesy of NEDAS)



Chief Alan Perdue (Safer Buildings Coalition) at the In-Building Tour at DAS Congress



You can’t go to New Orleans without a stop at CDM!

On The Road Again

By Mike Collado
February 17th, 2015

IMG_0430To quote Big & Rich: Well we’re comin’ to your city…

(Or at least likely nearby!)

One of the things that energizes us the most is getting into the marketplace to meet with buyers and partners and to share thought leadership.

5G comes with the promise of fiber-like speeds. It also comes with the opportunity for new market leadership because infrastructure must be overhauled to accommodate capacity.

Needless to say, it’s going to be a wild ride.

Which is why events will remain an important and relevant vehicle to debate densification strategies and technologies.

For the latest listing of SOLiD events, please visit our website.

Here’s our calendar to-date:


agl_newAGL Regional Conference
2/18 – 2/18
Long Beach
Panelist: “Case Studies in Small Cells and DAS”

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3/22 – 3/26
Exhibitor (Graybar)
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mwc 2015 logoMobile World Congress
3/2 – 3/5
Exhibitor: Hall 6, Stand L41
Presenter: “The Densification Toolkit Evolution & Revolution” & “Getting Clarity on Cloud-RAN”

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Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 8.54.23 AMThe CIBET Initiative

3/9 – 3/13
Sponsor / Trainer / Exhibitor
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3/16 – 3/20
Las Vegas
Exhibitor (Hutton Communications, Booth #620)
Panelist: “Introduction to HetNets and Small Cells” & “A Study of In-Building Wireless”
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3/31 – 3/31
New York
Annual Sponsor / Exhibitor
Panelist: “DAS & WiFi – A Symbiotic Relationship”
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4/19 – 4/20
Panelist: “The Wireless Technology Roadmap: A Trip Into the Future”
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4/27 – 4/30
Hollywood, FL
Tee Box Sponsor: 11th Annual PCIA Golf Outing
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6/8 – 6/10/2015
New Orleans
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6/9 – 6/11

Where are the Small Cells?

By Mike Collado
December 8th, 2014

IMG_0301Now its third year (we’ve attended each year), Small Cells Americas continues to expand its audience – attracting more than 750 registrants according to the event organizer with – interestingly – little attendee overlap from the recent LTE North America event.

The conference continues to grow presumably on the promise that small cells are coming.

Really, they’re coming.

That’s what industry experts are saying:

ABI Research believes 2015 will now witness meaningful small cell deployments.

(OTOH, an analyst once quipped that if a prediction doesn’t hit the mark, he simply adds a year to the timeline, so go figure…)

Once upon a time, these events were platforms for platitudes that prompted another analyst to decry that the small cell hype has outpaced reality.

Mercifully – as we observed in posts where we summarized both the Small Cells World Summit and the recent LTE North America – the industry discussion has steadily progressed.

Here’s what we learned…

(For comprehensive coverage, see this update from ThinkSmallCell)

The State of the Union

In his opening remarks, Dr. Alan Law, the new chairman of the Small Cell Forum stated that the industry is progressing how to deploy small cells to densify the network and pointed to (1) backhaul, (2) site acquisition, (3) monetization and (5) network management as key challenges impeding their widescale deployment.

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Which are pretty much the same challenges that Sue Monahan, CEO of the Small Cell Forum shared in her opening remarks six months prior at Small Cells World Summit.

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Stated differently, as AT&T’s Tom Keathley observed, the wireless industry has a ways to go before it is ready for a large-scale deployment of small cells.


Based on our discussions during the conference, two key reasons stand out.

Lack of a Repeatable Business Process

Our friend Ken Rehbehn (451 Research) last year shared that the absence of a ubiquitous process for the hurdles mentioned above would hinder widescale small cell deployment.

Which we echoed in a post-2013 Small Cells Americas blog update:

… accelerated rollout needs to be automated and deployment simplified like Wi-Fi access points. More importantly, the widescale deployment of small cells means that it will be incumbent upon ALU and Ericsson to work with DAS OEMs and other stakeholders in the ecosystem.


Another insightful presentation was delivered by Teresa McEneny from Cisco who highlighted location based services and analytics as big opportunities within the evolving in-building space and identified the barriers to widespread deployment of small cells to include power, support, backhaul, real estate, cost and need for multi-vendor HetNet.

Put simply, the industry needs to identify ways to make the harder things easier including how to design, build, join, commission, optimize, monitor and manage the network.

(And we would submit that this applies not only to small cells but the other tool in the densification kit, DAS)

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 11.12.06 AMNot Enough Like DAS

Given recent (and perhaps still lingering?) sentiment that small cells would put the DAS industry out of business, it’s ironic that the industry would request that small cells look more like DAS.

A key knock on small cells is that they are singular in purpose.

Those from the DAS industry have already seen this move play out: Sharing is good.

Venue owners don’t want multiple parallel infrastructure. They understand that we live in a BYOD world, so a single operator solution won’t meet tenant needs.

Similarly, they likely have a public-safety communications requirement and thus seek ways to mitigate the expense of a separate solution to comply.

Lastly, they seek ROI. And while the current DAS (and for the matter, small cells) doesn’t provide a business model (our friend Stuart Carlaw from ABI Research describes the industry as being stuck in a “coverage and capacity infinite loop”), it is clear that a single infrastructure with support for multiple services is the answer.

So, we believe both small cells and DAS will evolve by “borrowing” from each other’s best attributes while maintaining their individual and unique qualities that inform where they will be deployed to densify the network.

(For a primer on how to decide which tool to deploy, see a new report by David Chambers at ThinkSmallCell sponsored by SOLiD)

Your Turn

What were your key takeaways from Small Cells Americas?

What do you predict we’ll be talking about in 12 months?


Sue Monahan (CEO at Small Cell Forum)


Dr. Alan Law (Chairman at Small Cell Forum)


Nick Marshall (ABI Research)


Rupert Baines (Real Wireless)


Mark Grayson (Cisco)


Ken Sandfeld (SOLiD)


Carole Mayhew and the Avren Team

The Decade of Densification

By Mike Collado
June 18th, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 10.54.48 AMWe recently had the privilege to present at the Small Cells World Summit.

For an overall trend recap, read our blog post as well as posts from our friends at ThinkSmallCell and Real Wireless.

At last year’s conference, Doug Alston from Sprint observed that the wireless industry transforms itself every 10 years and has unique characteristics:

  • 1980’s – 1st Generation mobile voice services
  • 1990’s – 2G voice capacity and text services
  • 2000’s – 3G rudimentary data services
  • 2010’s – 4G mobile Internet and small cells

While we agree with the first three periods, we take issue with the fourth.

Instead, we believe the 2010’s are based upon data capacity and enabling capacity where it is needed within the network.

Capacity Crunch

We are familiar with the “data tsunami” in which industry experts forecast that the consumption of mobile data will increase more than six times over the next 5 years.

But a more stunning observations gets overlooked.

Within any given geographic market, there will be super-dense urban locations where the mobile data network will be unable to meet the average level of data demand due to the congregation of large numbers of users. In these locations, the demand for mobile data will exceed the network’s capacity not by a factor of 6 but by a factor of 10, 15, or perhaps 20.

Decade of Densification

We believe the 2010’s will instead be characterized by new strategies and technologies to densify the network.

Meaning – filling the capacity holes.

In order to achieve this outcome, the wireless industry is going to rely upon a toolkit approach that consists of a heterogeneous network that includes small cells (pico, metro, micro), remote radio reads (RRH), femtocells, distributed antenna systems (DAS) and WiFi technology, along with a reengineered mobile backhaul network that is comprised of fiber and Ethernet.

In fact, we believe in certain markets we will see a change in paradigm in which the densification strategy begins with putting the cells as close to the user as possible and then working back out to the macro network.

And to solve for the challenge, the industry will deploy both evolutionary and revolutionary strategies.

We’ll discuss what this means and what those strategies may look like in our next post.


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