What's next for wireless networks in '14?

Morgan Kurk
CommScope
As 2014 rolls in, the continued implementation of LTE and the ongoing data boom mean that for most wireless operators, modernizing and enhancing the capacity of their networks with the most efficient architectures and equipment possible will be a major focus. Increasing network capacity intensifies the focus on metrocells and indoor coverage.
 
With this in mind, here's a look at what I believe will be the biggest and most important wireless infrastructure trends of the next 12 months.
 
Everything LTE
The newest focus in the wireless industry globally is LTE. GSMA Intelligence expects the number of LTE connections worldwide to pass 1 billion by 2017. As the world’s population begins to access the Internet at the speeds available on LTE, there will be no turning back. Operators will be forced to quickly update and fortify their networks. Operators must ensure that their network evolution is well architected and accurately implemented to provide the exceptional experience that is 4G LTE to their customers.
 
Prior generation systems such as GSM were designed in a voice-only era and have aged as much as 20 years. As such they are not very efficient when delivering data. Forward-looking operators who are not deploying LTE yet will use 2014 to update their network equipment and architecture, preparing their networks for the arrival of 4G.
 
Central to this preparation will be shifting to a remote radio architecture that will put much of the radio function on the top of the tower. This design replaces traditional coaxial runs with hybrid fiber optic and power cable, which is used to connect the remote radio heads at the tower top to the baseband units that remain at ground level. Advanced multiband and multi-technology capable antennas will be connected to the radio heads, improving performance and increasing power efficiency while servicing 2G, 3G and 4G simultaneously.
 
Implementing such technologies to modernize the wireless network is a sound investment for improving operating expense in all of its forms, from energy efficiency to maintenance, while improving reliability and preparing for an LTE rollout.
 

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