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Who has enough spectrum for 5G!

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I have to tell you. I have been speaking to so many people about 5G. It seems that the front-runners are AT&T and……….. Sprint! That’s right. AT&T is no surprise because they are always on the front bleeding edge of technology along with Verizon. That’s why we are so enamored with #1 and #2. They are willing to try new things and make it work. Deep down we love that about Verizon. They will take the hit to make it happen. VoLTE, LTE, WCDMA, FIOS, U-Verse, and more. AT&T is

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usually quick to follow Verizon, but we all know they wait for Verizon to learn the expensive and painful mistakes! We all know that AT&T and Verizon have bought up a lot of cmwave and mmwave spectrum for fixed, but let’s talk about mobile spectrum here.

Yes, I said Sprint!

However, did I say Sprint? YES! By golly, Sprint has all that 2.5GHz spectrum that they have been rolling out at a snail’s pace. They could do so much with it. There’s just one obstacle, and that is Sprint’s management. Well, that and the BILLIONs of dollars of debt. We all thought Softbank would be the magical wizard to turn them around. Hey, that didn’t happen right away, but they did a great job, along with Marcello Claure, in getting the debt reduced, you know, down from over $30B to maybe $24B. Don’t you worry, Wells Fargo is right there to defend them, and offer them more financing? They love those interest payments. So, would I, I could live off that for the rest of my life. If only I had the Billions to give them in the first place.

(By the way, I challenge Claure to a one on one soccer match! If we don’t get physical, I think I could outrun him. If he hits me, that 6’ 6” frame of his would probably flatten my little 5’ 10” frame.)

Back to the point, 5G spectrum, which Sprint has plenty of and we want to see them deploy. I believe they have the chance to leapfrog everyone, including Verizon if they could roll it out. However, it’s like the kid with the new muscle car and no money for gas. Hard to show off when you’re pushing the car.

They have the spectrum, and I really think that massive MIMO LTE would take them into 5G quickly. We have all seen their past deployments. Network Vision, which wasn’t so bad, but they found a way to create too many options. They thought they knew best having over 30 options at every tower. Sounds great because there 5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelsare so many choices, but the reality hit when they had confusion, miscommunication, and lack of coordination. Great plan, poor execution. Whereas Verizon’s deployments are rather simple, usually less than 10 configurations to keep things simple and streamlined. They have the one-off models, but for the most part, they keep it simple and streamlined, don’t they?

What about the spectrum that Sprint has? They have a great asset if only they didn’t have the substantial debt and a history of botched deployments. I know we all thought Clearwire had a great plan, but that isn’t around any longer either. In fact, I think the sites are finally all off air.

Will Sprint be able to deploy cost-effectively and leapfrog the other carriers? I hope so, but history is against them. They really should let the regional manager do their own deployments, that would make more sense.

Verizon has 5G spectrum, but fixed or mobile?

Verizon is not the heaviest in mobile spectrum. They haven’t invested like the others, but they are very strategic. They are getting the biggest bang per bit. They have been able to build enough sites, use CRAN, and break down the coverage in an absolutely brilliant way. They have less spectrum than AT&T, but they have done so much more. WOW! Now they have a ton of mmwave and cmwave to make the fixed deployment happen. They appear to be betting heavily on this play. My outlook is that they intend to let mobile go to 5G when it’s ready, which is in about a year. I think they could control the fixed wireless and then transition it to the mobile users as needed.

I would imagine it’s something that could control and play with because fixed is easy to build and change compared to the live wireless network. If you think about it, the fixed wireless is something that can be changed, updated, and tested endlessly without hurting an existing network. They would deploy pockets of small fixed networks today and get all the bugs worked out. They can also test devices that could be installed by the end-user. This is progress in an environment that they can control. Unlike the mobile network.

One more thing to consider, the mobile network will evolve as the Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!standards evolve. The fixed network can be shaped. The mobile network needs to be treated with TLC, (tender loving care) because the users on the network will get pissed if they can’t watch the latest cat YouTube video. I am just saying that quality matters to Verizon. The mobile network will get there when it’s good and ready. The fixed network can be tested today then evolve into extended support for the mobile network once the devices add the spectrum.

Can T-Mobile transition 600MHz to 5G?

Now we have T-Mobile. They are deploying that 600MHz that they got from the FCC. I know they can roll it out quickly, but I think they are finding it’s not the beachfront property that then-FCC commission Tom Wheeler said it was. However, it is an asset that T-Mobile has, and they are rolling out at breakneck speed. You have to love those guys. Some devices even have 600MHz in them.

T-Mobile gets me excited when they talk about deployment because they deploy, they build, roll out, and kick ass. It’s not a game they play, as some other carriers. They put their money where their mouth is. I hear people make fun of Legere for being a marketing guy, but if you ask me, it ain’t bragging when it’s true. The numbers and coverage prove it.

T-Mobile wants 5G, but can they achieve maximum performance on 5G in 600MHz? I would like to think so but the spectrum would make the equipment huge, so that may be a drawback. It is going to be a challenge, and it explains why T-Mo is trying so hard to get more of the 3.5GHz spectrum. They intend to use it for the concentrated coverage that 5G can offer. They want to densify where they can and to be honest, it’s going to be cost-effective at 3.5GHz. Especially if they want to take a shot at fixed wireless. They didn’t’ seem as interested in the cmwave and mmwave that Verizon and AT&T were sucking up. Luckily, carrier aggregation may be their saving grace. They may be able to use it to make all that spectrum look like a huge pipe. They may get massive MIMO working well and cost-effective in the lower bands. I hope so anyway. It may be a stretch to see if it’s cost-effective to deploy massive MIMO at 600MHz. Once more devices have band 71 in them, it will be a game changer. That 20MHz of spectrum will really help once it’s aggregate with, say 3.5GHz spectrum.

OK, 5G on 600MHz FDD has to consider some things. The antennas for 600MHz are larger than the higher frequencies. This means that the tower may have more weight and larger devices on it. When they go massive MIMO, it will be huge, why? Because the transmit will have 32 x 32 and the receive will have 32 x 32, (FDD needs to have separate antenna arrays in 2018). This adds expense but dramatically improves densification. So, T-Mo will have to weigh out the expense versus the payback. Does it make sense to deploy this in urban environments? YES! Does it make sense to deploy this in suburban and rural environments? Of course not, unless John Legere decides to build a home there. I am just saying that there must be a good reason.

Why do they need massive MIMO?

  • It’s going to improve throughput and densification because now they can pass high data rates to multiple users at the same time, (MU-MIMO).
  • It’s going to reduce the need for small cells around the macro site.
  • It’s going to improve CRAN densification scenarios.
  • It’s the stepping stone to 5G.
  • They could do it in any spectrum, but the 600MHz is new and covers a lot of real estate. It makes sense to put it in as massive MIMO from the start if it’s cost-effective.

AT&T talks 5G, but do they have a plan?

Then there is AT&T, they have a ton of spectrum, but they don’t seem interested in deploying all of it. They have almost as much spectrum as Sprint. they even have a lot of deployed. But they just sold off the 600MHz spectrum they won in the last auction. I guess they decided they didn’t need it. They are a large carrier, they have a lot of spectrum, yet they are starting to focus on fixed wireless, like Verizon. They have every intention of appealing to the consumer as an internet provider, maybe even an entertainment provider.

The one thing about AT&T, like Verizon, they have the resources to do it all at the same time. They are already testing fixed wireless. In fact, they have been looking for a reliable solution for years. Now, they can finally live that dream. They were testing in Texas with different technologies. Now they may be able to have a viable solution that could boost them into the WISP category along with Verizon. It’s really a great thing.

As for the mobile network, they seem to be following the same strategy as Verizon. Big companies think alike. Sure, they will claim to have 5G first, but the reality is they will do it with fixed wireless first then the mobile network will get there when the standards are set, and the OEMs have a viable product.

Let’s not forget that AT&T has the FirstNet system to cater to. Really, it’s just a bunch of site upgrades to add Band 14 to the sites. The real work will be connecting to the FirstNet core and then set up all the stores for the public safety market. While this sounds exciting, it’s really something that Verizon has been doing. As far as I can see, there is no solution for the push to talk and I have no idea what the price points are. Remember that public safety has budgets, at least outside of NYC they do. I am sure NYC has a budget, but they always find the money to do new and innovative things, if the mayor wants it. Again, sorry, I am off topic yet again.

While AT&T has promised mobile 5G in 2018, they need to move quickly to do anything. I am not sure if they really plan to do something, or just call what they have 5G. They really need to deploy massive MIMO first then jump to 5G.

AT&T is investing heavily in fixed wireless so that they can scale back FTTH. Look out cable companies; you have even more competition beyond what they did with U-verse and DISH.

What about DISH spectrum?

Let’s talk about everything DISH did with their spectrum. Hmmm, well, alrighty then. Not much to talk about, so let’s move on. (DISH, my perspective is that they are not an innovator!) I would love it if they would prove me wrong, and do something, anything, or sell the spectrum.

DISH talks it up like they will build IOT, but let’s look at history and see what they have done. Again, I see very little. Maybe someone could help me out here. Nothing to brag about.

And then there are the cable companies.

I think the cable companies might consider a merger with a carrier soon. The ideal merger would be T-Mobile. They look great, in fact, T-Mobile could do great things with a cable company or with the DISH spectrum. Just keep T-Mobile in control. Regardless what you think of John Legere, look at his track record in the wireless industry. He created growth in subscribers and coverage area. He remained on the edge of technology. He created marketing campaigns that had real results. He was willing to experiment and try things that others feared like no contracts. For the most part, it worked, and when it didn’t, he moved on. Much like Verizon has done when they saw a program flounder. That takes courage. Sorry, I digress.

The cable companies do own some spectrum. They have the backhaul to support it, and they could build a core very quickly. While they have all of this, even Comcast seems happy being an MVNO with Verizon. They did win 600MHz spectrum, but only in their primary markets. They seem content to provide Wi-Fi everywhere. That license free stuff is easy to roll out, and the equipment is reasonably cheap. Comcast seems happy with that model.

I have no idea what Charter’s plan is. I wonder if they know what their plan is?

Summary:

To make this easy I put short descriptions below:

  • Sprint – tons of spectrum, heavy debt, poor organizational skills.
  • Verizon – the Big boy, pushing fixed 5G, mobile will happen when it happens.
  • T-Mobile – very aggressive, needs to roll out 600MHz, counting on 3.5GHz to fill mobile 5G requirements.
  • AT&T – read Verizon, pretty much the same plan.
  • DISH – right, OK, little to say.
  • Cable companies – probably waiting to merge with someone.

There you go, I hope you enjoy! Resources and links below that not only back this up, but you may enjoy them as well.

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Would 5G Help the Auto Industry?

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Yes, obviously and I will tell you why. However, many people say that the auto industry needs 5G. Here is something I read about all the

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time. The fact that everyone says we need, I mean absolutely need 5G for vehicles. I’ll let you in on a secret, you don’t. I am a big fan and advocate of 5G, but I want to set the expectation properly.

They are already connected!

Cars are already connected. They can be hacked, and they are already feeding data back to the manufacturer. This is all good because they want to know how to improve the vehicle. Don’t get me wrong, chances are good they could abuse their rights and invade your privacy. The manufacturers won’t because they have too much to lose. They don’t need 5G to do this. They just need a data connection.Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!

They will ask about autonomous cars, you know, self-driving cars. That is being done today as well, ever hear of Google, Lyft, or Uber? They have all tested this successfully. It works today without 5G.

So why would we need 5G? Well, first let’s look at why we don’t need it. Any car should have the smarts to handle the problems on its own. What I mean by that is that the electronics in the vehicle are there for a reason. They are going to provide the data, controls, autonomous driving without any outside help. The idea is that it can work with or without connectivity. Vehicles need to be smart, smarter than your smartphone. They can have the delays in it that your smartphone does. However, they should have a specific task for each thing they do, especially if they are driving for you. It must be alert and quick to respond whether it has a connection or not.

Can’t they just talk to each other?

Next, let’s look at car to car connectivity. I think this is very important because the vehicles can alert each other faster than going through any network. If a vehicle is 200 feet ahead of you has an accident, then it would be great if a mesh system could send a quick alert back from car to car to car until it reaches your vehicle, in minimal time. Again, without the delay of any network. They need to talk to each other to make this work, and it must be quick short data bursts. FYI – I see a hacker having a field day with this, but that is beside the point.

Again, why 5G for the vehicle?

So why the need for 5G? I don’t think we need 5G, just 2 types of remote connections. It would be great to be able to gather the data like we do today. It would be great to feed data to the vehicle, like updated maps, weather, traffic, and so on. This would be nice to do without the aid of a smartphone. However, if your smartphone does it, why pay for the car to be connected?

It would be nice to have your car be a Wi-Fi or LTE-U hotspot, again, your smartphone can do this, at least the Wi-Fi part today.

I think the IOT play is huge here for the gathering of data and the updating of vehicles. It would have to be very low latency to have the vehicle send back real-time data, in case of an accident. It could alert the authorities if there is an accident in real time and send back a real-time damage report. You know, if someone is hurt, where they 5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelsare at, and any other alarms that are available. Other alarms like airbags deployed or something like that. Maybe even give a report of the impact details if that is available. Make sure this device has a backup battery so if the car battery is destroyed, then it can continue to work beyond the life of the car, like a black box for a plane.

So, we don’t really need 5G for any of this, but 5G paves the way for all of this in the requirements we know about.

Great power requires great responsibility!

However, like Uncle Ben said in Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility.” This means that the governments everywhere will have the ability to see where you are at any time, maybe even activate a camera in your car to see you. They could control your car with you in it. Think about that. Again, a hacker’s dream but a government worker’s prime directive.

Would they do it? I don’t know. Would they monitor every phone call? Would they tap into every smartphone? Would they monitor all the cameras out there? Would they do this without a warrant? You tell me. They always do it on all the movies, that’s all I know. On TV shows they can crack into any camera anywhere. Meanwhile, I am trying to remember what the hell the password is to log into my bank account! I don’t remember changing that password. Is the caps lock on? Yet, on TV, they hack into a car doing 80 down the highway. Meanwhile, I am wondering why the stupid GPS is taking me through a cow pasture! Sorry, I digress, back to the vehicle story.

Seriously, do we need 5G for the vehicles?

Back to the question at hand, do we need 5G for vehicles, not? It would be nice, and it would be the next step in the evolution of self-driving cars, traffic control, and improving travel in most countries. I would like to think it would minimize accidents and traffic-related deaths. I see a lot of good. Again, there is good and bad because hackers could reach something that could kill you. The government could monitor your every move without you knowing it. They can do that now with your smartphone, so maybe that is a moot point.

The fact that 5G essentially will offer 2 advantages in one system, more or less, of ultra-low latency and extreme broadband makes the car connection perfect for the system. It will advance us quickly, even faster than we are moving today. Soon we will rely on the car to pick us up, and we may not have to drive in 30 years or so because the car will do it for us. Why not?

The 5G system will help us break more barriers, and autonomous cars are one of them. We could potentially get away from the gas vehicles and move to an electronic society. We have a long way to go, but the wireless connections that 5G offers would help us make significant improvements. We could learn how to improve battery life and all the other aspects of any vehicle. Tesla is doing much of this today to make it happen. They make changes that will improve the driver’s experience and the vehicle going forward. That is forward thinking in real time.

What about autonomous industrial vehicles using 5G?

Now, let’s look at the industrial use. That’s right! We always look at the masses for this type of technology, but industrial vehicles have a big part in making this happen. They have been doing autonomous vehicles for years, without 5G and sometimes without any connection. That’s what I think we need to understand. The vehicle must be smart. Having a wireless connection will make it smarter everywhere. It’s already out there with wireless connectivity, for more than just data, but it’s been a long time coming.

Big trucks are vital to this ecosystem because drivers get tired. They could make mistakes. They could rest more often but be there to make sure nothing goes wrong. Also, if there is a dangerous substance, like gas or something explosive, the vehicle could have more sensors and alert authorities when it goes into a specific jurisdiction, this would allow the local PSAP know what is on the roads at all times. They could track it real time, and they could also know before anyone calls if there is an accident. This would save crucial minutes if the vehicle has a spill and no one is around to report it.

Tractors are already being used without drivers. This didn’t need wireless connectivity, just a GPS connection and a kick-ass computer in the tractor. They can take care of the field work and self-correct their path when needed. They are good at doing all those functions. The wireless network makes it even better, so you can see what’s happening and collect all the real data time. John Deere is a pioneer in this technology because they are breaking into a new market of the next generation of tractors.

Dump trucks and dozers are already becoming more and more automated. Dump trucks primarily because they generally travel a specific route to get the dirt from point a to point b, so simple a machine can do it.

Autonomous bulldozers are in the mix. They can move the dirt in a specified area where there is a lot to be taken out. I am not sure how they know how much to remove, but I have articles below stating that they can do it. Again, they don’t need the connectivity. They need a GPS NAV system to make it happen. The wireless connectivity helps alert people when there is a problem or to remotely control it if necessary.

What about the money trucks? I mean armored vehicles. That could be automated as well. For all the armored vehicles out there, they could be controlled remotely so if something did happen the local guys could run, or if they can’t then the vehicle could return to its destination without anyone driving it or to the local police station. If they had connected cars, the driver and security guard could wear cameras at all times. This may help them in an emergency. It could be a game changer.

What about the military, they could track every vehicle in real time and understand what is going on. They are already doing this, but that’s all I can say about that.

Emergency vehicles could have the people work on the patient while the vehicle finds the fasted route to the nearest hospital. They could have body cameras on them that could connect to the vehicle always. The vehicle could be connected and alert the PSAP or hospital of what’s happening. Hospitals would have all of the data prior to the vehicle getting to the hospital. They could have the blood ready, the medicine, the ER workers all prepped for that specific emergency. It could all be automated and proactive.

Does this really need 5G?

So, we don’t need 5G, but it will make the vehicle experience 1,000 times better! Excellent I say, but again, we need to make sure we have our privacy and security. I hope we can have both, but I think we’ll start with security.

Remember that we already have autonomous cars without 5G. Remember that companies like John Deere and Komatsu are already using autonomous industrial vehicles. Remember that Uber and Lyft are already doing this. It’s amazing that these companies are so far ahead of the curve. They didn’t need 5G, but I would bet they are going to love having high-speed and low latency to connect to connect to the vehicle. I think they are all hoping this technology helps them improve data collection and upgrades. I would put money on the fact that they are counting on this being a game changer for their industry. But hey, that’s me and my vision of the future.

The fact that we will have vehicles out there doing the work for us will free us up to worry about other things, like how we plan to roll out 5G to the world. I would love it if I didn’t have to drive at all. That would be great. I think it’s cool that all those big utility vehicles could do the tedious work without having a human intervene or get hurt. Freedom never looked so good! Or cool for that matter.

What does this mean for the wireless systems?

So glad you asked! It means that we don’t need 5G or wireless to make the autonomous vehicles work. We do need wireless to collect the data, do updates, monitor what’s going on, get real-time analytics, get emergency alerts. This all adds up to a system that will make 5G more efficient. Why? Because some of that data can be an IOT function, which means low latency and short data bursts while all the data collection and upgrades could be on the broadband network. Both can be handled beautifully on the 5G system.

This is not going to be an easy road to follow. The automakers are nervous because the days of mass appeal are winding down. Many people would rather have an autonomous vehicle take them somewhere versus owning a car, in urban markets anyway. Some of us do not trust self-driving cars, but we didn’t trust cell phones at one time, nor computer, nor anything else that was so new it looked like magic, not science or technology.

Now we have the option to get into a smart vehicle and leave the driving up to a machine. How nice is that?

If you’re in the service business, don’t worry, we must drive to our sites and carry all the parts with us. We’re stuck driving at least part of the way.

The wireless carriers are counting on the systems connecting everything; this is a primary goal for them. They want the business, and it sounds sexy. They look at every vehicle as a potential customer. Look at OnStar, what a successful service. If AT&T and Verizon can tap into that business, they will. I am sure T-Mobile and Sprint would too. It’s low revenue per vehicle, but if you get over a million vehicles, it adds up to a great business.

The department of transportation is holding on the dream of using the DSRC which is dedicated short-range communications in the 5.9GHz band. Why? Because this band is open, and the vehicles could talk to each other. It makes more sense than going through the entire network and across any cloud to talk. You want the real-time communications for each vehicle. This is a particular application for the vehicles to talk in a mesh system. It would also have radios on poles that could relay the messages and collect data real time. The DSRC is a great idea; unfortunately for the DAT, it won’t happen unless they pay for it. Most smart city initiatives are strapped for cash and rely on the public-private partnerships, (PPP), to make things happen.

The cities I have worked with rely on grants or tax dollars for what they want, but they love getting private business in the act if they are willing to pay for something. Colleges are a great resource; they can often come up with funding if you can get through the bureaucracy to get the funding.

So, if your thinking other systems will support this, guess again, 5G will be the desired choice just because the carriers will work to make this happen. All the others appear to be one-offs. The DSRC will happen in the vehicles because the automakers are making it happen. The cities will have a minimal investment, and I would think that the larger cities will invest in this. Especially Detroit where they have so much to gain. Colleges would love to tap into this because they would learn a lot about human driving behavior. I would also think the insurance companies would see the value here merely for the data. But, time will tell.

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LAA, CBRS, LTE-U are 5G Building Blocks!

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Carrier Aggregation and Private LTE

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Hey, guess what? Remember when I talked about LAA, LTE-U, and CBRS, well, we’re almost there! That’s right, all those add-ons that we talked about over a year ago may finally be released. The new CBRS spectrum in the US creates new opportunities. It will be a game changer once the FCC decides what will happen with the spectrum. I just want to deploy, something they are delaying even longer, over a year, come on, release something! Sorry, it’s just that government holds back the economy by trying to improve it, this is a classic example. It happens in every administration.

Let’s look at 2 things, 1) a way to supplement what the carriers have, and, 2) a private LTE network. While you think this is just another Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!system, it’s on the road to 5G. That’s right, we need spectrum, and there is plenty of it. Where? I’ll tell you if you have the nerve to read on.

LAA – Licensed Assisted Access

First, it’s the ISM spectrum, you know it better as the Wi-Fi spectrum. It could be 900MHz, 2.4GHz, 5.8GHz or even 60GHz. All that spectrum that Wi-Fi could operate in, but they primarily use 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz. Now we can run LTE in that spectrum; it’s called LTE-U and Qualcomm created MuLTEfire to allow LTE to run without a core. You heard me, an independent LTE-U hotspot that the carriers and your device will like a lot.

LTE-U is in the spectrum of Wi-Fi but is true LTE. It’s in the unlicensed band. MuLTEfire is a stand-alone LTE unit. While that doesn’t mean much now it will when all the devices have it, like your smartphone. Learn more here, https://www.multefire.org/about/ if you’re interested in learning more. Maybe you want to read a book, available on Amazon with my affiliate link, found here, where you can learn more about LTE in unlicensed bands. It’s going to be great when we can use LTE for everything. I see this as a great thing. RCR wrote about it last year, https://www.rcrwireless.com/20170530/network-infrastructure/what-is-multefire-tag6-tag99. It’s really a great thing.

Why? I am glad you asked. You see the carriers can use LTE-U to gain bandwidth with their current LTE spectrum. They use something called LAA, which I wrote about in the past, but now it’s right around the corner. What’s that? You don’t remember anything about LAA, let’s have a flashback! LAA, which is soon to be used by the primary carriers to build up throughput, is Licensed Assist Access. That uses carrier aggregation to aggregate, (make all the RF carriers look like one big pipe), create separate streams that all combine in the end users’ device to make the throughput go through the roof. We are talking about throughput closer to 1Gbps to the device. Hell, I would settle for 100Mbps to happen.

There is also LWA, Licensed Wi-Fi Aggregation, same as the above but it uses Wi-Fi to aggregate. Now, you’re wondering why LWA isn’t the preferred choice, right? I would say because it’s so much work to get Wi-Fi to work with LTE. Seriously, those 2 formats are not playing well together. They have delay differences and to be honest the carriers are sick and tired of trying to make it work. I will give T-Mobile a lot of credit because they seemed to have a solid way to make it work. I am not sure why, but they don’t seem to push it anymore, not sure why.

So, what is the better choice? LAA using the licensed LTE with the unlicensed LTE-U. LTE is a great format baby! I love it, in fact, 5G will love it too, it will be the foundation for 5G, even with the NR coming out. That’s right! The carriers will be rolling out LAA very soon. They have faith in it. Carrier aggregation rocks! It will allow all of them to unify LTE is all bands, including CBRS.

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CBRS – Citizen’s Broadband Radio System

That’s right, CBRS rocks! It will allow you, the end-user, to build a lightly licensed spectrum, like 3.5GHz here in the USA, and build your own LTE network along with the LTE-U. CBRS is in the 3.5GHz spectrum, and it is lightly licensed thanks to an advances licensing system that uses ASA to assign spectrum. It works a lot like your DHCP server only for spectrum. How cool is that?

When I interviewed both Art King (of SpiderCloud) and Steve Martin (of Ruckus) they helped me understand how awesome the CBRS spectrum is going to be for the enterprise user as well as the wireless internet service provider, (WISP). It will open new doors and allow WISPs everywhere to align with the carriers if they want to aggregate the carrier.

But wait, there’s more! The carriers will be using this spectrum as well. In fact, T-Mobile is a major reason the delay is happening. They want to buy more of the spectrum and hold onto it much longer. I’m okay with that, but why don’t they ask the FCC to get off their ass and release something already? They don’t seem to be in a hurry. I guess because they are rolling out 600MHz now. That is a major effort on their part. I appreciate it because it brings a lot of work to the deployment industry, and GOD knows we need it. You heard me! It’s feast or famine in this industry. Now I am straying off topic, sorry.

CBRS is also LTE, and it’s something that the carrier separately 5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixelswants to roll out as part of their small cell model. It’s perfect spectrum for small cells. Lower power, smaller coverage area, and new spectrum that can be rolled out anywhere. I love it and so will you when you get your own small cell in the CBRS spectrum.

Hey, guess who else will love it? Public safety, utilities, small business, enterprise, and anyone who wants to extend their coverage. I know, Wi-Fi is nice, but the LTE format will open new doors, and lightly licensed spectrum will help security. I can’t wait until every smart device has this spectrum in it.

Carrier Aggregation made this possible!

I would say thank you to the OEMs for coming out with carrier aggregation. It is the sole feature that made this possible. It is a remarkable technology that the carriers are currently using only in the licensed spectrum. They are currently using this technology only on their own licensed channels. Some of them on multiple bands across spectrum or maybe in the same spectrum. Here’s the deal, they can expand beyond their own spectrum, how cool is that. They may want players, so keep your ear open, and maybe they will want partners. It could happen.

What about the devices?

Nokia has already released their small cells. Ruckus has a CBRS unit. SpiderCloud has their unit. There you go, real units in the real world just waiting for you to deploy! Deploy, deploy, deploy! Do it ASAP. We’re still waiting on more UE devices to get the spectrum, but it’s coming, have faith, my friends.

How can this help you?

OK, it’s all about you! I can explain it to the industry you’re in. Let’s look below at the list to understand where you fit in.

  • Enterprise users – you will be able to build something much more secure than Wi-Fi. A network in the CBRS will be lightly licensed and something that most users will not have access to. You could dedicate it to your network and have specific devices with that spectrum to allow low latency and dedicated spectrum for whatever you want to use it for. Security and dedicated spectrum would allow you to do secure functions without running cables everywhere.
  • ISPs – If you’re an internet service provider you have an option to supplement your income by striking a deal with any carrier to use LAA on LTE-U or CBRS to aggregate the carriers licensed LTE with your spectrum. If you have already built it, then they may see value in what you have. Why not?
  • Installers – if you have the opportunity then you can install these devices indoors and out. On poles usually, they are low power and will reach the end-user much like Wi-Fi on these will be small cells. The CBRS will be rolling out everywhere. While the carriers want a higher power unit the reality is this will be an extension of the network and should work well within the realm of 5G.
  • Backhaul – Fiber providers, backhaul providers, and the router companies can make a play to gain market share in the smaller business groups.
  • Carriers – the carriers will look at this as the icing on the cake. They can extend coverage by partnering with smaller users for a flat fee or by reciprocating services. The chances are good that they will want to build their own smaller networks where they can, but that whole idea here is that they don’t want to increase CapEx. That’s why the partnership to extend coverage looks natural and attractive. FYI – this is cheaper than putting in licensed radio heads.
  • Building and venue owners – if you looked at DAS as the saving grace, look at this as an easier way to do upgrades. This is an easy way to expand coverage by running CAT 5 or CAT 6 to the new small cell areas. By putting in LTE-U or CBRS, you can quickly and easily extend coverage. It’s a natural alternative to putting in more licensed radio heads.
  • OEMs and distributors – you can move product. Nokia, SpiderCloud, and Ruckus have already jumped on the bandwagon with products for LTE-U and CBRS that are carrier grade. They all are targeting the user mentioned in this report. Do they know something you don’t? Not if you read the blogs at Wade4Wireless.com!
  • Public Safety – here is a market that could really benefit from I know they are all waiting for the AT&T deployment, sorry, I meant to say FirstNet roll out. The thing is, they will have a choice between AT&T, sorry, I mean FirstNet and Verizon’s system. It all depends where they are at because the coverage varies that much and while the budget matters, they really need to have coverage first. If the coverage is there, then they can look at cost. They may rely on their own networks like they do today. If that is the case, they may want to try to deploy their own broadband network and put it where they need it.
  • Utilities – I see the utility market needing this for their smart meters and remote connections. They can use something like this to reach all the area that the carriers can’t or at least as an alternative to paying carriers for their IOT systems. Then they may be able to expand the network to serve more than the meters by allowing end users to put their IOT devices on these networks. It is a viable alternative.
  • Cable companies – I see the cable companies rolling out LTE-U and CBRS because it’s so cost-effective and it fits into their current model. Granted, they love Wi-Fi, but they will see great value in rolling out LTE-U and CBRS if they can partner with the carriers. They could use it as a bargaining chip when they want to become an MVNO, like Comcast, with the large What leverage they will have when they can use their network to reach millions of their customers with an LTE network of their own. Awesome!
  • Autonomous vehicles – I don’t know who will use this, but it is a viable way to communicate with vehicles in the urban areas. It would have to be a dense network, but it could supplement the carrier’s network.
  • Google – yes, Google has a lot to gain with their Loon network and to replace the FTTH network which we all thought would be our savior from the choices we have now. One thing that Google learned is that it costs a lot of money to deploy fiber. It’s a lot more than what you see in the data center. If they use this technology like they say they will, then we will have our new ISP competitor that could make a difference overnight, well, in a few years maybe.
  • The workforce – I see the workforce benefiting from this because we are going to have to engineer and deploy the systems for all the potential service providers. Let’s build the best networks we can. Let’s build the ecosystem beyond the carriers to the smaller business owners. We can make a difference by helping cities become smart, utilities being connected, public safety has a broader reach and more partners, and the carriers are relying on individuals beyond their strong list of partners. We have the opportunity to go beyond the “norm” and into an open distribution system. We can do it, so let’s make the difference today!

Summary:

Do you believe that this could be a game changer? I do! I think that this is going to be the thing that pushed the outer users to 5G and includes them as part of the ecosystem. It’s more than being a customer. It’s becoming a player in your niche. Finally, in wireless, we can all be players in the infrastructure network. We have become an active user and builder of the wireless networks beyond Wi-Fi. It’s exhilarating to me, and I look forward to having all of you as partners in this venture!

Resources:

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About Massive MIMO Beamforming

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What is Massive MIMO Beamforming?

Let’s put them together, beamforming and massive MIMO, and we get massive MIMO beamforming. This combination of great ideas and technology allow us to go beyond what has been done in the past.  It takes all the antenna elements to work together and separately to create 3D beamforming and with over 32 elements to push data and coverage to the outer limits. Read on to learn more.

Coming soon, the “Road to 5G” book with reports on Massive MIMO, Beamforming, and more about the trend of the tech industry.

To recap:

  • Massive MIMO is where the elements in the antenna each have an individual radio head feeding them, could transmit or receive or both (TDD).
  • Beamforming is where the beam focuses the “transmit” and/or “receive” in one specific area to avoid interference from outside sources and to increase gain and throughput.

In Massive MIMO they use 3D beamforming. This focuses the beam both vertically and horizontally. It is going to allow the element to talk to specific users if they need to. It allows the RF to focus on one area while the other elements can focus on other areas. It increases coverage and densification without moving an antenna or dropping in a small cell. WOW!Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!

Learn more in a blog about Massive MIMO, found here, https://wade4wireless.com/2017/11/27/what-is-massive-mimo/. Then, read the blog about beamforming, found here, https://wade4wireless.com/2018/01/08/what-is-beamforming/.

How is it done?

How can they do that? With a control beam that can track where a user is located. This was brought to light with MU-MIMO, Multi-User MIMO. It allows the elements to talk to more than one user at a time. Mainly because you have so many elements that are readily available to focus on users.

Can you imagine where you have more carriers and spectrum to communicate to the UE device? Not only that, but each element can talk to a device while the next element can talk to another simultaneously. All at the same time, using different chunks of the same spectrum along with 64 or 256 QAM. It’s really amazing, so much so there is no way I can explain how it works in detail. Sorry, look at the resources below to learn more technical details.

Here we’ll learn the high-level overview. The RF will be able to be utilized more efficiently than ever because it will be focused in a very concentrated area while other elements can concentrate on their specific users.

Please note, there is SU-MIMO, Single User MIMO, I don’t talk about that here because I think the key is to talk to as many users as possible at the same time.

While Massive MIMO Beamforming is thought of like a 5G technology, it can be and will be used in LTE. They will call it LTE Advanced, LTE-A, but really it’s LTE evolution to get more throughput. It is a critical factor in getting to 5G, so it is going to be part of the NR, New Radio. (New Radio, not a creative name at all!) I think it’s important to remember that all of these advances in LTE will be a foundation of what’s to come for 5G, but I digress, let’s get back to massive MIMO Beamforming.

Massive MIMO paves the way for 3D beamforming for several reasons. First, it’s an active antenna that has a radio head dedicate do each element. This makes it exceptionally smart. Second, it has fiber and power to the antenna which has embedded antennas, so the electronics of the element allow it to focus energy the way the radio head sees fit. That means this can pick a user, focus all of its energy on that user, and slice out RF for that user, and communicate directly with that user.

Why is the last statement so important? I am glad you asked! It’s because the UE Device doesn’t need to match the MIMO of the transmit antenna. I don’t see SAMSUNG and APPLE putting in 32 or 64 antennas on their smartphones, do you? I know they’re getting bigger, but we’re lucky they put 4 in each one. Not only that, but they have to put a crapload of RF chips in each device to handle any carrier. It’s a lot to ask of a smartphone, yet we expect it today, don’t we? Don’t deny it! You would be pissed if you couldn’t take your device and use it on another carrier or maybe even in another country. Now, pile that on top of all the formats they need to communicate, like GSM, CDMA, LTE, TDD. To make it simpler for you, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, and soon 5G. Yowsa that is a lot to ask of that device that used to fit in your hand. Now we want them bigger, but not too big!

What made all of this possible? The OFDM format, it helped us build to what we have today. The other thing that helps is beam tracking. The beam can track where the user is and where they are going to keep the RF concentrated on that user, beam steering.

Why does it matter?

Why does massive MIMO beamforming matter? You ask some great questions! It matters because where we once thought that the antenna would just point to where we thought we needed the coverage. Then we had MIMO to allow us to pass more data simultaneously to a user, but it was really SU-MIMO passing more than twice the data to an individual user. We also had beamforming, used heavily in TDD, like Wi-Fi, to reduce interference and concentrate that low power signal to where the users were. Lower interference and increase gain to the user.

Now, on the road to 5G, we have mutated all of this to something extreme. You know, like the X-Men, we have LTE and RF superpowers! The superpower to increase coverage and densification using the antenna and the radio and the electronics to make one antenna do the job of 32 or 64 or even 128 at this time. Who knows what the future will hold.5g-deployment-plan-front-cover-3k-pixels

With beamforming you can concentrate the signal to one user, increasing the gain of that element and talk to one user while the elements are talking to another user.

Does this save money for the carrier?

Trick question! I wanted to see if you were paying attention here, so I threw in a trick question to make sure your on your toes and wearing your thinking cap.

It will cost money up front. The carriers have to replace the antennas and the radio heads. They now have to install the massive MIMO antennas. They have to run fiber and power to the antenna because it no longer has the radio head broken out. It is all one unit. They have to upgrade their BBUs, I would think, and upgrade the backhaul, (fiber) so that they can deliver 10Gbps to every macro site, maybe 100Gbps. Because now you could have 64 users all crying for 1Gbps to each device.

Up front, they have to replace hardware, install new units, and replace most everything at the cell site. Up front, it’s more money.

OpEx will increase for the backhaul. They will need more fiber, more bandwidth, more monthly cost on the backhaul

Now, it will save money in the long run. Here is what I see and it’s not as clear as I would like to make it. Please, use your imagination, will you?

The savings will be that the macro site can now supply well over 10 times the users it could before. In urban areas, this is a game changer! What does this mean? Fewer small cells to be deployed for offloading! If you have a kick-ass macro site throwing data out to many users simultaneously, who needs those pesky small cells in the same coverage area as the macro site? If you don’t think this is a thing, look at any carrier in NYC or LA, they have to offload everywhere. This can start to decline.

Coverage improves as the elements offer higher gain to individual use. This is a small gain, but the edge of the macro should see better coverage as well as throughput. Again, better handoffs and fewer small cells on the edge.

The equipment is smaller than before, and you eliminate the need for the radio head and all that annoying coax between the radio head and the antenna. You heard me! One unit, an active antenna that eliminates the need for coax at the site. This means no more Passive Modulation Interference from all those coax connections. Don’t you hate doing all the PMI testing at the site? I do, and it costs a lot of money, and there is no guarantee that it won’t happen 3 days after you leave the site. Yes, PMI sucks!

Smaller equipment at the site means that it could save the carrier money on-site rental. However, I have to tell you, ATC and CCI have ironclad leases. This is more of a pipe dream. One thing I learned is that the tower owners will NOT lower rent, they only increase rent, and they have leases so tight that Houdini could not get out of one. The thing it may hurt is the small cell leases. If the macro is kicking ass in coverage and loading, maybe a carrier could eliminate some of its small cell sites. That is a considerable cost saving when you look at the backhaul and rent. The equipment and installation are cheap, but the fiber costs are still pretty high.

Who will roll this out?

I have to tell you, the best way that I see massive MIMO beamforming rolling out is by using TDD. It’s cost effective and eliminates the need for separate transmit and receive elements. That means that if you use FDD, you would need 64 transmit and 64 receive elements in one antenna. Ouch, that just got really expensive. But wait, if you have TDD, then you could use 64 elements because the transmit and receive are shared in the same element.

Now, who has TDD in the USA? Can you guess? Go on. I’ll give you another minute. That’s right; Sprint has a crapload of 3.5GHz spectrum that is all TDD that is no longer Wi-MAX. In fact, they are migrating to LTE everywhere. They have a prime opportunity to roll out an incredible system. Will they do it? I hope so, but only time will tell.

That is why the other carriers are clamoring for mmwave and cmwave so that they can also have this technology. Does that make sense?

For this reason, I see Sprint winning this race, if they can get out of their own way. they have not made the best tech decisions in the past decade, in my opinion. Keep the deployment simple, get the teams on the same page, and for GOD’s sake, align with your vendors.

What spectrum will use this technology?

Another good question. It appears that 2GHz and up will work well for this. That means Sprint has prime 2.5GHz spectrum that aligns well with this technology.

The CBRS, 3.5GHz is well suited for this technology. While it is low power, this offers great control to allow the carriers to get the biggest bang for their buck. The lightly licensed users may not use the technology because of price and payback. Usually, private LTE networks won’t invest in anything this impressive, (code work for expensive).

It looks like the 4.4 to 4.9GHz spectrum is also ideal, good news for Japan!

Above 20GHz, where the mmwaves live, it looks to be ideal. So, when AT&T and Verizon start pushing this envelope, they will rely on this technology to deploy. Why, because the massive MIMO will allow them to cram a lot of elements into one antenna. You see, at that spectrum, the antenna elements are tiny, so they could see antennas with a high count of elements. I would think they would see 128 by 128 for almost everything. It would be a game changer, especially for fixed wireless.

Summary:

This new technology takes what the OEMs learned form MIMO and beamforming and put it together to create a new type of macro site. This makes the antenna a team player getting the signal to the end-user in the most efficient way possible. The elements of the antenna each have their own radio head and control. Using this technology to create parallel RF streams of data to the user increases throughput and loading all at the same time. That is what I call smart technology.

We have an active antenna that can do massive MIMO and 3D beamforming all controlled by a base station with even more features in it like carrier aggregation, higher throughput, more carriers, and advance interference rejection. All that and coverage improves, better densification from one BTS. WOW! We’ve come a long way, baby.

All of this so that the throughput and use loading goes way up.

I have it listed in the resources section, but a good paper on this has been put out by Nokia at https://onestore.nokia.com/asset/201377/Nokia_5G_Beamforming_mMIMO_White_Paper_EN.pdf if you have time to read it.

What can you do?

Prepare for this new technology! Come on, all the cool kids are learning it. The OEMs are relying on this as a precursor to 5G for whatever the carrier plans to use it for. What services will be needed for this? Let me count the ways:

  • RF Design – to deploy, it needs to be planned out properly to avoid self-interference.
  • Installation of new material.
  • Site engineering.
  • Commissioning, Integration, Testing, Optimization all done for the new sites.
  • Drive testing to verify it works the way we all hope it works.
  • Then, self-optimization should start cleaning up the services.
  • Then the end users will have to evaluate how awesome it is.
  • Then the carrier can start re-evaluating the use of small cells.

Resources:

Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

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The Race to 5G between Fixed and Mobile

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Tower Safety for all your safety training!The Race to 5G between Fixed and Mobile. Which will be deployed as 5G First?

Which will be first to market, deployed, and be 5G? Which system could be the one to bring 5G to the market, for real? Will they deploy fixed broadband to provide service to homes and call that 5G or will they bring the mobile systems up to a 5G standard before the fixed is deployed?

Oh boy, a race for 5G! There is a race. The real race is between who will deploy fixed and mobile 5G systems. Of course, here in the states, the carriers are all racing to 5G, they will say they have 5G regardless of what criteria they meet. There are so many things we expect from 5G, but a new format is only part of the picture.

But hey, who am I to judge, all I want to do is deploy the stuff. It may be fixed; which AT&T and Verizon are betting heavy on. It could be mobile, which I think T-Mobile and Sprint will gamble on first. Who will deploy first?

It’s funny, but fixed doesn’t go anywhere, how would it win when Mobile can anywhere? OR, we could look at throughput, fixed generally is faster than Mobile because it’s dedicated to a few users, not many and the antenna is usually focused on a smaller area. So, when you look at those aspects, it could go either way. But I don’t mean any of that. What we’re talking about here is what will get deployed commercially first and be called 5G! We all want to legitimately call something 5G because it’s a higher G than 4G. Oh boy, isn’t 5G great? What system will win the race to the end customer as 5G and be used profitably? That’s the race I am looking at for this article. The race to the real world for a 5G system.

What’s the difference?

For those of you that don’t know the difference, here it is in a nutshell.

Fixed wireless generally is a fixed link between 2 points. It could be a point to point or point to multipoint. The end unit, the user’s device, is generally a fixed radio that provides internet connection inside the customer’s location. It does not move but stays in one location. Look at it like your cable modem in your home or your cable box, only a wireless connection.

Mobile would be a site that connects to mobile devices, like your smartphone. They are mobile and can be used anywhere there is coverage.

Fixed Wireless Overview

Let’s start with fixed, what is the business case? It’s to provide broadband to the customers that typically would rely on cable or DSL or someone to provide them an internet connection. It’s now going to be viable to have something in the cmwave or mmwave that could be multiuser and still provide over 100Mbps to a home or small business and small cells out there. Don’t forget, we still need fiber to the unit, but now we can take that fiber strand and send it to multiple homes without running fiber to the home, it would be a wireless link from the pole or building to the home or small business. How cool is that? No more wires to the home, other than power, but that could be underground.

This means the business case for broadband to the home, (BBTTH), should, in theory, cost less than running fiber to a home overhead or underground. No more trenching to every home hoping that they will sign up. Just get the fiber to a pole on the street, or a large building then shoot it to the homes.

Sound familiar, well it should. The Wi-Fi companies and the wireless ISPs have been doing this for years. Only now people want more. Most ISPs did what they could to get 1Mbps to a home, maybe they could get 10 Mbps. However, in today’s world of massive data usage, they want 50 or 60 Mbps to the home. Times have changed, and customers are way more demanding. They won’t settle for “good enough,” unless they are buying a phone from Sprint, then within 1% is good enough.

So, the fixed business case looks good if it can be appropriately scaled. However, I believe only the carriers can pull this off with success. They have the pockets and the grit to make it happen. They also have the name. Why? I am glad you asked.

There are many wireless ISPs across the USA. They have found ways to help the underserved areas. They have deployed in the license-free spectrum, ISM bands, where Wi-Fi is. This worked to a point. Many of them did not realize what it would take to install on a tower or building, in fact, many of those companies are run by IT people who ventured into the wireless carrier space. They quickly realized it takes deep pockets to maintain crews to do this work.

There are successful companies that deployed Wi-Fi internet access, like Boingo, they have done an outstanding job. They built a model around resorts and airports that work. People are willing to pay for Wi-Fi in those cases. There is a need.

The problem with WISP, Wireless ISP, is that the bandwidth service could be up and down based on weather conditions. License-free spectrum is low power and prone to interference. That is one of the issues they must deal with.

Side note – I worked for a WISP years ago and the business model was not great. The expense was high, and the payback was not what we had hoped. In fact, we made more money off IT services than we did off subscriptions. However, we did have subscribers. I soon left that venture to work with an installation and integration company. We did many installs for WISPs, many who could not pay the bills. It was very frustrating. It’s a tough business, especially when people are thinking that license-free spectrum is so valuable. The reality is, it’s free for a reason. Low power and cheap equipment make it tough to roll out, although conventional business wisdom tells us differently. You see, the services are still expensive, and if you want to go on a tower owned by a big boy, like American Tower or Crown Castle Inc, you still must pay premium rates. All OpEx expenses that can bleed you dry. I’ve worked with many companies that tried to figure it out, and many of them failed. Others pivoted into something more reliable. It’s not rewarding, and the spectrum in the US is monopolized by the carriers, the deeper the pockets they have, the more spectrum they have.

That brings me back to the fixed wireless spectrum. You can learn more here, but the spectrum to be used for this is expected to be in the higher bands, like 24GHz, 39GHz, 60GHz and 70 GHz ranges. Those spectrum ranges are almost entirely LOS, Line of Sight. The carriers are convinced that can change with technology, but I haven’t seen it yet.

All the same, look at the feeding frenzy that AT&T and Verizon went on bidding for 28 to 31GHz and 39GHz spectrum. They went crazy to acquire what they could. I would say the licenses will help them deploy across the US to homes everywhere, in theory. They must make the technology work. At least the OEMs must find a way to create proof that it works. I think the carriers already have a business case built.

They already ventured in the FTTH, Fiber to the Home, space and it was expensive. They could not lower the price of deployment like they hoped. They probably thought they could because they drove down tower work so far, but fiber deployment is expensive and tedious. This is all in addition to attaching to someone’s home, which they will sue the installer if something is messed up. It’s not pretty, but the townships, cities, and everyone else wants a piece of the pie in the order of fees, permits, and other various expenses.

Mobile Overview

Whereas the mobile case is merely upgrading the existing sites to new equipment that is 5G ready. Maybe with all the other features like massive MIMO, carrier aggregation, and so on. All the things that need to be installed bringing broadband everywhere. This should bring the mobile sites up to over 100Mbps. Why waste time on fixed if your mobile carrier can do it and provide you a device to make your home a hotspot? Just do it! If they already have one of your devices, then they may get another one and cancel their cable service or another internet provider at their home. I would! Although, I live in a suburban area so that won’t happen for 3 or more years, will it? NO!

However, this is an expectation of 5G, broadband everywhere. While the carriers may not be excited to put even more money into their sites, they have no choice if they want to compete. Your wireless carrier fee is feeding this expansion! The carriers need to deploy all that they can to remain competitive.

The wireless broadband is the way that the millennials get their data. They rely on the carrier for almost everything.

I feel if the mobility broadband happens and they try to use it for fixed, then it may overload the sites. At least with the spectrum that most carriers have. They know this, that’s why the big boys want to roll out new systems to support the home internet case. The only exception that I see is Sprint. However, T-Mobile might get creative with their 600MHz spectrum to get it into the homes of the public, if it’s enough. It may or may not be. However, if any carrier could do more with less, then they are the real winner. I think they could if they plan it properly, but I’m sure they know better, (at least they think they do).

However, with mobility systems, you could deploy a broadband solution to the home as easy as putting a device in it and setting it up for Wi-Fi. I would think something like Sprint and Airspan’s Magic box would be perfect for something like this. It would be easy for anyone to buy it and install it. Just plug it in and see if you have coverage. Awesome and easy, just what any consumer wants without going to all the trouble of fixed wireless.

Execution is the key!

I bring up execution because, with mobility, they will need to have the devices ready. When I worked for Qualcomm rolling out the FLO TV system. That was live TV to the device, a cool concept which was not a great idea at that time. However, with all of that said, a huge mistake they made was to bring the system live with only a few devices out there that had FLO TV on them. They were so worried about the system they forgot that if there are no devices, then no one can watch it. You need to execute the plan from end to end. Having a great system means nothing if the customers can’t get what you’re delivering. In this case, it’s broadband. Customers are happy with broadband. They like the idea of 5G, but if they have 100Mbps to their home, they are so much happier and could care less what G it is, or if its fiber or wireless. Just make it reliable and consistent.

Why compare fixed to mobile?

I think we need to, so we can better understand which 5G system will be rolling out first. I think the mobile system will be looked at as another upgrade and overhaul of the existing mobile system. Whereas the fixed wireless system could be a new division that brings in new revenue for the carriers. The revenue that standard ISPs and cable companies had before.

When you look at the business models, they are very different. We want to see where 5G will be applied first, in a fixed scenario or on the existing mobile system.

Fixed Pros and Cons

The pros of fixed are that it’s a new revenue stream or at least a way to cut the costs of fiber to the home. If they can run the fiber to a pole and connect 5 to 20 houses off one radio, then they saved a whole lot of money in fiber installation, deployment, and permits. Pros are cost savings and new revenue.

Cons are it’s new, and it will need to be tested, and chances are there may be problems. They are also running into the cable companies’ mainstay. The cable companies have monopolies all over the place, and the carriers need to figure out how to wedge themselves into those markets. It won’t be easy. The carrier will invest heavily to do this even without running fiber everywhere.

Pros and cons are it’s all new equipment. Why would that be both? New equipment is expensive to deploy and needs to be put on sites. That means new fiber runs, site acquisition, planning, installation and all the expenses that go with it. Even if it’s an existing site, all those details must be worked.  However, there is no legacy equipment to remove or replace. New system installs are generally clean and easy to work with when there are no customers or just a few customers. Like I said, pro and con.

Mobile Pros and Cons

Mobile will eventually become 5G, but there is more to it then just upgrading the sites. If 5G needs to be a new format other than LTE, let’s say a 5G LTE, then the upgrade is going to be costly. The system must work with 3G, 4G, and 5G. All of them. No easy thing. I believe 4G and 5G will not be a problem, but any carrier holding on to 3G has a significant problem. Let’s look at Sprint, I am not aware of VoLTE for mass deployment, so they need 3G CDMA to keep the voice going. Yes, many people still make calls on their smartphones, and I am one of them. This means that the carrier must support all the systems until the migration is complete.

Migration isn’t just about the sites. The devices, like smartphones, all have to be ready for the new system. Ask T-Mobile how many devices on the street have 600MHz in them. I would guess less than 100. Maybe ask AT&T how many devices have the FirstNet spectrum in them. Again, a meager number.

The site work isn’t all that has to be thought of for mobility; the UE devices need to be ready for the new service.

So, the pro is there will be more bandwidth at existing sites, new features, and bragging rights. All the carriers want to have 5G running on their system just to say they have 5G running on their system. I want to say that, and I don’t have a system.

The con is that the equipment at the site must be upgraded. Chances are these are all live sites, would be service affecting to customers. Not an easy thing. It may be day work or maintenance window work. Either way, chances of a live site going down for some maintenance are 100%. Chances are good the migration could be done in steps, and I see massive MIMO being deployed. That means that the antenna and RRH will be replaced with an active antenna. Good and bad. Good because the form factors and weight will be less, along with fewer coax connections. The bad is that all the leases will need to be amended, tower work has to be done, and CapEx goes up for a few years during deployment.

Another con is the UE devices will need to be sold to customers. There may be a boost when it first comes out, but the legacy users will hold on, and it will be a long time before they can sunset old Get the Wireless Deployment Handbook today!products. To see the results, users must have new devices.

Pro and cons are the backhaul and fronthaul. Carriers will need more fiber at the site. Carriers will need new routers to handle the amped-up broadband. Guess what; more backhaul bandwidth means that the fiber provider may need to light up more strands. While this sounds awesome, more bandwidth, for the carrier it’s more OpEx expense, meaning that monthly costs go up at every site. Imagine if you have 15,000 sites and the monthly cost for backhaul alone goes up to $1,000 each month. That’s $15 MILLION dollars each month, which adds up to $180 MILLION dollars a year, for the rest of that sites life. That’s going to be hard to pay for with unlimited data plans.

Who wins?

Up front, fixed will claim 5G first but mobility always wins because the devices are already in the hand of mass users. Working devices can see results immediately, even if it’s 4G LTE, if people see 100Mbps of throughput, then it’s close enough to be called 5G, even though it’s not. People want to see results immediately.

However, in the long run, both models win because the revenue streams will continue to increase for all the systems. The fixed will be new revenue competing against the cable companies. Let’s go deeper than the carriers. In the fixed arena AT&T and Verizon have the

edge with spectrum and a plan. They are testing. They already secured spectrum. They will win the race there.

Cable companies will be hurt by this new push, the way I see it. I am not sure what their defense will be, but I am sure they will think of something.

In mobility, T-Mobile is already pushing to win the broadband race. I would love to say Sprint has a chance because they have so much spectrum, but can they spend the money to make it happen? I don’t know.

I’ll tell you this, no matter which system is deployed, the fiber and router companies win. The new bandwidth demands require a lot of bandwidth. So, the FTTP, Fiber to the Premise, suppliers like Zayo and ExteNet will be winners. Fiber deployment teams also win. Fiber providers are the real winners though; they will get more money for the fiber that is out there. It will be a big win for them for years to come as broadband needs increase, or at least maintain.

Deployment teams will get plenty of business for the next 3 or 4 years. All the carriers want to deploy. They will all do design, testing, and integrations. It all has to be deployed.

Asset owners should get a lot of business, but let’s clarify. The equipment on the tower will get smaller and lighter. There should be less equipment on the towers and rooftops. It doesn’t mean it can’t do more; it just means that it is in a smaller package.–

The site acquisition teams will also get a lot of work, no surprise, they are needed at every turn for the permitting, the zoning, the planning, the lease amendments. The carriers try to bring this in-house, but they still need feet on the street in the local markets thanks to all the permitting requirements.

Summary:

The carriers are looking for new revenue streams. I think that is why AT&T and Verizon paid billions for the 24 and 28 GHz spectrum. I think they know they must break into new markets as cost-effectively as possible to build a new market up. If they already have this spectrum, that’s something to work with. It’s all good! It’s one more market they think they can tap.

The mobile market is not yet saturated. They are looking for new revenue there, such as cloud services and IOT services. That is all based on quantity, meaning they need a lot of devices to make some money.

AT&T is going to rely on the FirstNet business to happen and bring in some government money that Verizon had tapped for so long. However, remember that FirstNet participation is voluntary so Verizon may be able to keep most of its customers. That’s another article.

The race matters, but not necessarily for technology, but for the future of revenue for the carriers. They know that if they can do it first, the customers will try it just to say they are on a 5G system. Then they will work hard to build momentum.

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What is Beamforming?

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Antenna’s that can control their own beam shape, what?!? Control the beam on demand? How can that be? Beamforming is a little more complicated than that.

First, a quick, high level, history lesson.

I don’t know how familiar you are with antennas, but they must be installed correctly. You could physically tilt the antenna a few degrees to match your coverage. It’s like azimuth, that must be appropriately aligned for coverage. Older antennas were installed with a set “up tilt” or “down tilt.” They were fixed in tilt and azimuth. So, what they saw is what they heard, based on the antennas fixed pattern. The antenna pattern would determine what the antenna could hear and talk to. That was it, very simple. I know, there is gain, but for the sake of argument, let’s say they would talk to UE devices in their specific coverage area.

Then there was evolution! There were new ways to control tilt. CommScope had RET, Remote Electrical Tilt, for this purpose. I think it was a good idea, but it’s still a physical system. Basically, if I understand this, it’s an actuator that can change adjust the tilt + or – 3 or more degrees. However, it opened options to the end-user, the carriers, where they did not need a tower crew to adjust the tilt. Pretty cool!

How does it work?

Now a new type of evolution, beamforming!

With beamforming, none of the physical alignment goes away; we still need the proper tilt and azimuth to get started. Beamforming is done by very smart antennas, but the carriers did not have the corner on this technology. As a matter of fact, the Wi-Fi vendors have made significant advances in this technology. They did a great job getting 802.11 to do this. The BTS controls the beam from there so that the antenna can do its thing. Again, they all must work together to make this happen.

Where did this idea come from? Don’t let the carriers or OEMs fool you; it came from Wi-Fi. In fact, I believe one of the pioneers in beamforming was Ruckus! That’s right, the carrier-grade Wi-Fi OEM. Also, I must give credit to Linksys for putting the technology in their home Wi-Fi routers. Awesome! Thank you to Network World for making a video on this, (link is below in “Learn More” section).

Massive MIMO puts that on steroids. It takes the signal, both ways, and focuses on a user. If you have 64 by 64, then, in theory, you can focus on 64 individual users on that antenna. The idea is to hear users you want to hear at any moment. This allows the radio to talk to specific users simultaneously without sharing precious spectrum. How can they focus?  Beamforming is how they do it. They employ a technique called 3D beamforming that dimensions the signal from that element in 3D, 3 dimensions. Beamforming will focus the beam on the specific user.

Now the carriers are asking the OEMs to take it to the next level. It is the cornerstone of making massive MIMO even more useful.

You see, massive MIMO relies on the beamforming technology to make it more efficient and push even more bandwidth through it! It is a crucial factor, like carrier aggregation. It all has to work together.

Now, by controlling the beam to match the user’s antenna, it becomes more efficient in several ways. Signal strength helps, but now the spectrum stream can be dedicated to that specific user the duration of the conversation. Not only the best signal possible but a dedicated conversation with that unit for a limited time.

Massive MIMO takes this to a new level. Now the angle of delivery can be controlled. WOW! That is specific to the user based on each element. Assuming it really works that way, the antenna will have to be smart. This is called 3D beamforming, looking at all 3 dimensions. It’s steering the beam to match the end-user, basically taking a lobe that focuses all 3 dimensions to the user’s antenna. Almost like a microwave shot to the antenna. Beamforming is shaping the beam to match that of the UE device. The antenna will narrow the beam so that it is only talking to the device or devices that you want it to talk to and not the surrounding units.

That makes the antenna elements very efficient. This increases the number of devices the antenna can talk to as well as increasing the throughput to each device with a dedicated stream from each element.

Remember that the antenna will need power now since the radio heads are in the antenna and the elements need to be agile. The elements will control the beamforming, and they need to have control signals sent to them. It’s a whole new level of technology.

MIMO helps to utilize beamforming by using the radiators in the antenna to focus on specific users and not “hear” everything. That’s the key, listen to what matters and forget the rest.

By the way, if you want to get technical. Try one of the links below. I am providing a view of what a field worker would need to know. If you’re in a classroom or device design, research the details. I just need to know how it’s going to work with massive MIMO and in the real world. I am in the real world of deployment, that’s what I worry about. If you want to see more detail, I would start here, http://home.iitk.ac.in/~javeda/PhD_SOTA.pdf to learn more.

Why does it matter?

The OEMs figured out that if Wi-Fi can use beamforming so efficiently for license free, then there must be something they can use it for licensed spectrum. At first, it didn’t seem like much because the carriers are always listening for subscribers. Then came MIMO, and suddenly it seemed like a game changer.

With MIMO they would use the spectrum more efficiently, especially using OFDM. Then they would pass more data, more bandwidth in the same spectrum, awesome.

Now, enter massive MIMO, the big daddy of antennas and data throughput. It’s a landslide of data that can use the spectrum efficiently to more than 32 users simultaneously! It makes the 8×8 MIMO look pathetic!

It matters because to get the data throughput we all crave to multiple used efficiently in the spectrum we have; we need to utilize every tool we can, like MIMO, carrier aggregation, and beamforming. Although, no one will mention beamforming when discussing massive MIMO because it’s expected to be there. In fact, it’s what makes MIMO so impressive! (In my opinion.)

What spectrum does beamforming work in?

As far as I can tell it works me any spectrum. There are arguments to put it on the higher spectrum, but the reality is that I have read reports that it will work in 2GHz to 70GHz. I mean it works in Wi-Fi. What I don’t know is if it will work below 1GHz. I see that many say sub 6GHz, but I haven’t read about anyone using it below 2GHz, to be honest.

I think the carriers will get it working on all their spectrum; they need to get it rolling. Whether it’s FDD or TDD, it will be the foundation for massive bandwidth to the end-user. It’s a matter of how to reach the user.

Who will use it? (Looking at the USA only.)

You mean after all the Wi-Fi vendors? They are already using beamforming and, massive MIMO because it really helps throughput. Then the carriers are all going to use this. It means changes at the sites. New antennas, upgraded BTS systems, and even backhaul and fronthaul upgrades. This all must be upgraded.

They all want it though, they all want to serve the public. The question is how? Anyone working with massive MIMO will use beamforming. Beamforming is a hidden X-factor. As I have been telling you, massive MIMO is a huge stepping stone towards 5G evolution. Whether it’s fixed or mobile, it’s a critical component.

For instance, if you read Verizon and AT&T press releases you see that they intend to deliver high-speed broadband to homes via cmwave and mmwave. They intend to open new markets to the end-user that would, in my opinion, compete directly with any cable company’s model. Get ready Comcast! You will have competition from more than satellite.

I would like to say Sprint could do this. They have the perfect spectrum in 2.5GHz for beamforming and massive MIMO, but can they get out of their own way to deploy? Your guess is as good as mine! I know they want to do it, and they could do it, but can they execute? They may need some help.

T-Mobile has more spectrum in the 600MHz range. I think when the technology is ready and proven, (and the bugs are worked out), they will jump on this. However, will they do it in the 600MHz spectrum? I don’t know, ask John Legere, I am sure he has an answer. I certainly don’t want to speak for him, but I know once they get this technology and have faith in it, they will go crazy to get it out there to remain faster than anybody else in urban areas.

The cable companies, meaning Comcast and the others, should be eager to do this, but I don’t see them aggressively doing anything with it. I see them investing, (even more), in Wi-Fi. They must see the writing on the wall! We all see LTE throughput matching and passing Wi-Fi speeds, yet, they don’t seem worried. They even saw John Legere mention how he was going to go after them, yet, they seem very relaxed, (maybe overconfident). I don’t get it, but they’ve been successful Only a few cable companies are debt-ridden. They seem to be doing something right by staying out of the mobile arena. They have a corner on the suburban markets for sure, but the urban markets may start falling behind. They should look at history, like paging, 2-way paging, and the Tom-Tom GPS, all replaced by the smartphone. Those carriers are smart to erode other businesses, so they can have more of other market shares. I can already use my cell phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Why cable companies should pay attention.

I would heed what John Legere says about cable companies, even though Comcast’s approval rating is up. T-Mobile already proved they could change the stubborn wireless industry. He singlehandedly destroyed contracts and lowered costs and built a following for unlimited data plans. I believe that he could do the same for cable subscribers, mainly because millennials rely more on their devices than ever.

Personal story, my son was living in Ann Arbor Michigan, in a program at the University of Michigan. When he was there, he didn’t have a cable subscription. He did have an internet connection to them and Wi-Fi, but he complained about it all the time. As a young single man, he relied on his laptop for all his video viewing, movies, and YouTube. He didn’t watch TV on cable; he watches it on his TV with his iMac feeding the TV. He didn’t rely on any cable box or anything, just Netflix and YouTube. My point here is that millennials look at broadcast utterly different. They know that all you need is the internet, then you can watch whatever you want. He didn’t care how it got to his apartment if he had Wi-Fi inside and it was fast. He would have been just as happy getting it from his iPhone instead of Comcast, but AT&T was too slow and didn’t have the best coverage in that area. So, he got Comcast, and it worked fine.

The moral of that story is that the new generations could care less how they get internet access. All they want is a connection. They rely on apps to do the rest. Whether it’s entertainment or voice, it’s an app. They use Skype like we used to use a phone. It’s an app that matters.

What about you? What do you rely on? I know one thing, in the next 5 years you will rely on beamforming and not even know it. Like massive MIMO, and carrier aggregation, you will use it all, but not be aware of any of it.

What about the industry?

Let me tell you something; beamforming will be part of the new massive MIMO systems coming out. The carriers are hoping this is the last time they need to replace equipment at the site. The new equipment is getting smaller and lighter. Not to mention energy-efficient. This means that future expansions are going to be made with software as often as possible.

This will be part of the massive MIMO deployment, which means for the next 4 or 5 years, tower crews will be ramping up to get the massive MIMO systems out there. We need active antennas to see this work properly.

Carriers don’t want to pay deployment teams anymore, they have already eroded the cost to the point where many companies have run out of the industry. The industry has changed, the carriers want to reduce cost, the first place they usually hit is deployment, everyone but Verizon. Verizon is #1 in coverage for a reason; they invest where it matters. Field deployments should be scaling down after 2022, and the OEM licensing and software should be scaling up.

Side note for the field work. As training requirements went up, costs went down. To prove this point, someone compared it to a diesel mechanic that gets over $120/hour to work on an engine. That guy needs tools and training and works in his own garage. The tower climbers need their tools, a warehouse, safety training, skills training, and more tools and trucks. The only thing is, the chances of the diesel mechanic getting paid is much better than the tower crew without the travel and putting your life at risk daily. Who wouldn’t take that trade? Nuff said!

Backhaul and fronthaul are going to increase which is good news for fiber and fiber deployment. Its usage gets heavier, just like I said for massive MIMO, https://wade4wireless.com/2017/11/27/what-is-massive-mimo/. Same deal.

Fiber companies always win in something like this, why wouldn’t they?

Wireless OEMs are hoping they can build something that could be out there for over 10 years, something they can sell a license to for scaling. Can this happen, I doubt it. If they can build something that will be out there for over 5 years that can be improved remotely through software, then the carriers will be in love, until they get the reoccurring bill for the licenses they must pay. It’s still cheaper than deployment.

Antenna companies will move into this market quickly, as will their distributors. They will do all they can to make the perfect antenna. I see CommScope ramping up to meet demand along with Kathrein.

As for the carriers, they will all try to gain bragging rights. They all will try to be faster, better, and cost competitive. I would say “most reliable, but I think we all know that Sprint with their latest advertising campaign of, “Sure, they’re better, but we’re cheaper” pretty much diffuses that argument. It’s like saying; we’re #4, why try harder. Trust me, I know people that work at Sprint, and they work really hard and put in long hours. Personally, I don’t know why management would belittle the workers with that campaign, (again, my opinion).

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The Art of Solutioning (Estimating for Profit)

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I often am tasked with putting a solution together for services to deploy systems. One thing that you learn by doing this is that many times there are things you can’t foresee. That’s the Art of Solutioning. Putting together the solutions for customers that will make your company money and be competitive.

Tower Safety for all your safety training!Most companies call this estimating. They send in a guy to look at what needs to be done and build a model. Often, it’s built off of models that have already been done. We look at what we have done in the past and then estimate the parts and hours we need.

For the hardware site, it’s generally straightforward, or so we think. You have the basic system and all the interconnections to put them together. From a high level, it looks easy. Let’s look at a cell site.

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  • BBU/controller
  • Power
  • Backhaul
  • Fiber jumpers
  • Antennas
  • Power supply or rectifiers
  • Hybrid cable

Wait, how do we mount the crap?

  • Tower mount
  • Snap-ins for the hybrid cable, if it’s a tower, a channel for the

    cable if it’s a rooftop.

  • Outdoor cabinet or a rack for a shelter, room.
  • Clamps for antenna
  • Junction boxes where needed
  • Conduits where needed

Great, we have a high-level solution, what does it take to get this mounted? The services?

  • Site Acquisition to align the lease and structural with the equipment.
  • Site walk team
  • Tower crew for tower or rooftop.
  • Ground crew for cabinet installation.
  • Civils if we need to add a concrete pad at the site.
  • Electrician if we need to add power, breakers, or additional power runs.
  • Commissioning engineers to get the equipment up and running.
  • Drive teams to optimize and test the site.
  • RF teams to align RF design with actual coverage.
  • Remote networking team to integrate and bring site live into the core.
  • Network teams to add or upgrade routers.
  • Fiber providers if we need to add or upgrade fiber backhaul.
  • Microwave team if we’re adding a wireless microwave backhaul.
  • Closeout package
  • Project Management

Then we have all the incidentals that could be used up along the way.

  • Zip ties
  • Weather seal
  • Electrical tape
  • Fuel to drive to the site
  • Meals, hotels, per diem

It all adds up and it all takes a savvy and creative team not only to put it together but to come up with ways to do it better. Often, if we look for efficiencies we can find them, or at least the team in the field can help. If they follow the MOP, (Method of Process) that the carrier provides, it’s hard for them to do one thing out-of-order. While the carriers don’t want to miss anything, they build a system that is not always efficient.SOW Training Cover

For example, years ago I would go with a team and install all the hardware at a site, power it up, and commission it, integrate it, and with one cell tech, we could have the system live and on the air with one crew, a tech, and an electrician. Those days are gone, sites are more complicated, but the real reason we see the inefficiencies is because of how the quoting is done now.

Years ago, you could have a tower crew that had a sound network engineer on it and a good RF engineer on it, I know. I was on one of those teams. The carriers decided to break down each task to save money, so they did. The tower crew does the tower work. The commissioning engineer does the commissioning work. The IT engineer does the router. The backhaul team does the backhaul. Now they know what each task costs and how long it takes to do it. What they didn’t figure in is how long it takes to get 5 different people/teams to the site, travel time, per diem, scheduling, and so on. Now, is that cheaper and more efficient? But hey, who am I to judge. AT&T really built a new system around the turf management system that would break down each task and put it out to bid. They got around as much overhead as they could by hiring a team of project managers to handle the excessive workload.

Oh, the best thing we have now is the project management teams. I rely on them more than anyone. Why? Because they see the big picture. If I were to ask the tower crew, they would only know what they do at the site with an idea of what the others do. Same with the commissioning engineer, the site acquisition team, and so on. The PM usually knows what everyone does at the site, how long it really takes at the site, and what change orders had to be processed to get the site done. If they managed the project, they would also see the site acquisition, site walk, closeout, and everything in between. I rely on them heavily when putting the offer together.

We have to do the best we can to put together the best offer we can with what we know to be true at the time. This brings me to a great quote. Think about this quote by Mark Twain, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Often, we think we know everything that is going on at a job, but when we talk to the people doing it, we see new problems and issue we never knew about before. It’s a learning process. We think we know what’s going to happen at the site, good or bad, at cost are at no cost, and we are wrong!

It’s like this for so many things, product management, estimating, construction, and more.

I once supported a product development team for small cells. I did hundreds of estimations for deployment, but this story is about product design that hurt the deployment process. I pulled this story from my upcoming 5G report/book I plan to release in January along with a membership site.

Side story. A carrier wanted to design their own indoor small cell. It was interesting because they went beyond just telling the OEM what features they wanted, but they wanted a hand in the complete design. They said they would commit to over 1,000 units, but they were sure that sales would be 20 times that number. So, they started outlining what they wanted.

Typically, we would have a model and add the features a carrier wanted but in this case, they knew everything and would only commit to it if they could get what they wanted, not the model or features the OEM would recommend because they felt the OEM only wanted to sell an expensive product and did not have the carrier’s best interest in mind. Talk about paranoid, or maybe just cheap.

The cost was a factor, so, to save money they said they didn’t want PoE, (Power over Ethernet) because they wanted to cut costs on the device, (among other things but let’s go with this since it plays into my story). From that perspective, they saved a little money. Unfortunately, the carrier didn’t think beyond the device cost. Once it came to installation, they had to get power to every location that the small cell would be mounted in the office space. This was a small unit with no PoE, meaning they either had to run power cords along with CAT 5 to every location or they had to install outlets at every mounting location in the ceiling. See the problem? Think about mounting a small device in a ceiling and having to run power to every device! It cost a fortune to run electric outlets everywhere, and extension cords are ugly, and there are regulations with running AC power in a ceiling. In a ceiling, AC lines must be fire rated or in conduit or maybe both. Think about it, if someone cuts a ceiling tile and there is AC extension cord laying on it, ZAP! We have a problem. These problems happened because a carrier’s team thought they would save a few dollars on hardware, they failed to see the big picture. Sure, we tried to tell them, but they just stood firm, convinced we wanted more money out of them. Everyone’s investment money wasted! The small cell model was scrapped after about a year, and the OEM was lucky that the carrier accepted delivery on a few hundred, they didn’t honor the full commitment.

Above is an excellent example of the wrong solution, decisions based on product cost and nothing else. Real world experience matters for more than just the real world, products need to be developed for the real world, or the cost of installation will kill the product before it’s ever mass deployed. That was the case here.

Whether you’re estimating, developing a product, or providing a real-world deployment price, building the right solution matters.

Tell me, have you ever had a job go bad? I have, it happens, and we learn from it.

Have you ever had a job go tremendous and make a lot more money? I’ve had that happen too. We learn from that too.

I’ll tell you more in the future. One thing that really helps, feedback from teams and planning. When I say feedback, I mean from anyone. It could be from the installers, the engineer, the project manager, or even the closeout team.

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