May 23, 2017
After wondering aloud why a wireline company was invited to speak at a wireless conference, Dan Caruso, president and CEO of Zayo, quickly noted the importance of wireline companies to the success of wireless companies in the deployment of 5G in his keynote at the Wireless Infrastructure Show today in Orlando, Florida. In fact, collaboration between different factions will be the key for 5G to be successful, he added.
Caruso said there will be many winners in 5G deployment, including wireless carriers, tower companies, fiber companies, cable TV providers, data centers, and content and web concerns, but only if it happens quickly.
“With 5G, the big prize is that it happens sooner rather than later. The quicker it is deployed and the more pronounced the better it is for everyone one in this room,” Caruso said. “It is not about [crowning a single] a winner. Everyone wins if it happens on a widespread basis and more quickly.”
Making sure that deployment is less expensive and more rapid with strong economics for all participants, the industry must make the decision to work together, according to Caruso. The key finding ways to work together during the deployment stage, as well as ways to make it less intrusive.
He admitted that collaboration is not always easy. Once there are three or four parties in a room, it can be difficult for them to agree on the various aspects of deployment. Nonetheless, Caruso said it is worth it to for the various factions to come together to consider the different options.
“We can leverage our existing assets, whether it is existing towers, existing DAS systems or existing fiber,” he said. “We can leverage construction cycles; so instead of, in parallel, rebuilding the same network over and over again, we can collaborate during the construction cycle itself so we accomplish multiple goals at once.”
The wireless industry must figure out how to play together in the rights-of-way to speed up the deployment process to make it less obtrusive, according to Caruso.
“The wireless carriers could work more closely with each other, and it would make it easier on everyone, including themselves,” he said. “If you have a design spec that is slightly different from the other carrier, which requires multiple networks to be built separately in the same geographic area, it is more expensive and takes longer for everyone involved, including municipalities.”
Caruso said that the wireless infrastructure industry also has a responsibility to work with each other in the rights-of-way, taking advantage of each other’s strengths.
“We don’t have to do everything ourselves, the full turnkey package. We can do our piece of it working with others. We can provide the fiber, and others provide the poles and the access,” he said. “Are we creative with one other? Constructive with one another? Can we find opportunities to build out the infrastructure each of us playing our particular roles in a way that happens more quickly and spend less money?”
Keynotes Show Variety of Infrastructure Opportunities
The keynotes during the morning of the first day of the Wireless Infrastructure Show, the annual conference of the Wireless Infrastructure Association, represented various of aspects of communications infrastructure, from John Horn, president and CEO, of Ingenu, who spoke about the internet of things, to Michal Poth, CEO, FirstNet, who covered the first responders broadband network, and Buddy Dyer, mayor of Orlando, Florida, who briefly spoke on his city’s commitment to being a smart city.
The annual conference keynotes and sessions are representative of WIA’s involvement in fiber, smart cities, the IoT, as well as towers, DAS and small cells, according to WIA president and CEO Jonathan Adelstein.
“WIA represents the entire ecosystem of wireless infrastructure, which is becoming increasingly complex as it grows to meet the data demands that are exploding,” Adelstein told AGL eDigest. “We believe that bringing everyone together at WIA benefits the entire wireless industry because we are the hub where all those different components included in the growing networks come together.”
Enterprise in-building coverage is widely seen as one of the next phases in wireless infrastructure deployment. When you look at the data growth rate and the ability of the carriers to meet those needs, there is a big disconnect, Peter Walters, Dali Wireless COO, told DAS Bulletin. He added that in-building wireless should be seen through the eyes of an IT professional.
“While carriers just want to lay out more wireless coverage and capacity to reach all of their customers, building owners are interested in wireless services that help to maximize the value of their building, which includes not only cellular but also Wi-Fi, public safety, indoor GPS, security camera data — a complete solution,” Walters said.
When There Is No Room at the Inn, the Base Station Hotel Is Always Open
One of the problems with implementing a head end for multiple operators and multiple technologies in an enterprise is that it can take up thousands of square feet of scarce, valuable real estate.
“With the ability to have an off-premise facility where the real estate is less expensive, we route those services and capacity into the enterprise location or virtualize the radio access network,” Walters said. “The opex is orders of magnitude more import than the capex; backup power, leasing of space, and the overall size of the system needs to be smaller.”
Traditionally, the head end equipment is collocated with a base station or a small cell. The signal is introduced into the head end, then the signal moves via fiber to remote amplifiers, which convert the signal to RF and connect to the antennas.
The Dali Wireless distribution system transports the RF signal from a base station to a remote location. This is enabled by transferring the RF signals into a digital data stream in the host and transporting them via optical fiber to a designated remote location, where they are converted back to RF, amplified and delivered to the end user.
“Distance comes into play. How far can you go with the signal from the head end to the remote? Can you use existing fiber infrastructure to reduce costs with the operators to do that?” Walters said. “There lies the opportunity to allow the operators to put their equipment anywhere they want to drive that capacity anywhere they want.”
Walters moderated a panel on base station hoteling at PCIA’s Wireless Infrastructure Show, Oct. 9, in Hollywood, Fla., where Mark Horinko, Airwavz COO, discussed the economics and business side.
“What we need to do as the wireless community is figure out how to provide the lowest cost per gigabyte,” Horinko said. “There are efficiencies in economics to be gained from pooling your resources in a centralized base station hotel.”
Base station hoteling is coming of age today because of advancements in the signal transport segment, such as the separation of the baseband from the amplifiers, the evolution of the CPRI protocol, the increase in fiber assets in urban areas, the commoditization of remote radio heads and advancements in DAS technologies, according to Horinko.
Thomas McCarthy, director network operations, Transit Wireless, touched on the challenges his company has faced in providing DAS in the New York subway system, such as the large power requirement and limited potential locations for the base station hotels.
“Limited RF-over-fiber budgets govern where we can place our base stations and how many base stations are needed,” McCarthy said. “In the New York area where DAS is ideal, there are not a lot of buildings with roof space available.”
Echoing the old saying that some people make it happen, some watch it happen and others wonder what happened, Nick Hulse, Boingo Wireless president, encouraged the audience to get involved in Wi-Fi in his keynote address, Oct. 8, at PCIA’s Wireless Infrastructure Show in Hollywood, Fla.
“The current market conditions and forecasts of future conditions all dictate a convergence in Wi-Fi and in DAS,” Hulse said. “Having both DAS and Wi-Fi in a venue assures connectivity to almost any device and allows cost management by the carriers.”
Hulse said Boingo Wireless was attending PCIA because of the importance to the wireless infrastructure industry of small cells for dealing with device and capacity issues in venues. He quoted reports by comScore and ABI Research that showed Wi-Fi-enabled devices totaling 5 billion at the end of 2012, with projections of 20 billion devices by the end of 2017.
“It is an important time to figure out your commitment to Wi-Fi,” he said. “Are you going to get involved in creating higher capacity indoor networks, and what are you doing to create a better customer experience? Can you get your arms around how not to get left behind?”
The trend that tower owners should find most disturbing is the proliferation of tablets that are Wi-Fi-only, with no chipsets, data plans or relationships with the carriers, according to Hulse.
“You might ask, `Aren’t things working out right now the way they are?’ Maybe not,” he said. “The Wi-Fi-only iPad is one of the top sellers. Is this the beginning of a trend? We will see.”
Hulse was not afraid to drop names as he talked up Wi-Fi. Several companies that are hetnet “doers,” he said, include Ericsson, KDDI, China Telecom and CISCO. Those companies will all profit first and the most, according to Hulse.
“It is pretty clear that with the proliferation of the devices and the demands of the network, no carrier is going to be able to carry it all,” he said. “The game has changed; layered architectures are needed. Everything from macrocells to femtocells to Wi-Fi has to come together to provide the seamless service to the end consumer.”
Next Generation Hotspots
Boingo Wireless has launched the world’s first commercial Next Generation Hotspot Wi-Fi network at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, which uses the PassPoint standard. Hulse invited the audience to take part in the end-to-end testing of the network, which allows automatic identification, authentication and encryption.
Hulse said several OEMs are leading the way in NGH protocol technology, such as Samsung, which embeds a year of free Boingo service in its Galaxy product. More than 50 percent of Apple 5 users opted for NGH. He also mentioned Google’s deal to be the wireless provider for Starbucks and CISCO’s deal with Facebook.