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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?

 

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SOLiD Showcase at DAS & Small Cells Congress

 

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New SOLiD 20W ALLIANCE DAS Remote

 

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

 

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NEDAS Stand at the Big Telecom Event

 

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

 

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

 

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

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