Mind the gap: the future for indoor wireless

July 02, 2014 //By Morgan Kurk, CommScope
Mind the gap: the future for indoor wireless
Research indicates that 80 percent of mobile connections are made inside buildings. Yet, of the approximately 30 billion square meters of commercial real estate in use today globally, only around two percent are currently covered with a dedicated indoor wireless network.

With the introduction of faster mobile networks such as Long Term Evolution (LTE) and the increased integration of mobile into our daily activities, the amount of data we consume is consistently on the rise. Analyst firm Analysys Mason predicts that the use of mobile data will expand by 6.3 times between 2013 and 2018(i), increasing the pressure on networks. Consumers increasingly expect and depend on a seamless user experience from their service wherever they are, and as such there is a clear mandate for mobile network operators (MNOs) to implement a robust indoor wireless coverage strategy.

Across the globe, many MNOs are rolling out LTE networks. The GSMA predicts some 465 LTE networks will be in operation in 128 countries worldwide by 2017(ii). But it is not only the wireless spectrum that is shifting – the entire industry is in a high state of change, with consumers demanding more and more from their network providers for less money from every location they visit.

The continued adoption of Bring Your Own Device is putting additional pressure on indoor networks in the workplace. Juniper Research has predicted that there will be more than one billion employee-owned smartphones and tablets in use in the enterprise by 2018(iii). IT managers are now often tasked with supporting both wired and wireless networks in the enterprise despite having limited training in RF.

Whereas once a single operator with a single technology could be deployed, now multi-operator, multi-technology, multi-band systems are needed to meet the variety of demand for wireless access and capacity.

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