iWireless Solutions takes a look at what we anticipate to be the biggest wireless technology trends for 2017.
Current trends indicate many changes in spectrum – licenced and licence exempt – to accommodate the growing number of devices requiring connectivity. With the release of 5G on the horizon, preparations and plans are being made, e.g. Ofcom’s planned 2017 auction of 2.3 and 3.4 GHz spectrum. There has been criticism of the UK lagging behind in terms of cellular coverage and quality, so operators may be forced to share more of their infrastructure and possibly even spectrum. There are ongoing discussions around the possibility of Ofcom growing the amount of licence exempt spectrum and increasing deregulation. Operators and enterprises are looking to exploit licence exempt spectrum for cellular services (e.g. MulteFire and Wi-Fi Calling), although this is likely to increase congestion for existing Wi-Fi services.
For 2017, we predict cellular network densification will gather pace in order to meet traffic demands. This is likely to result in a dramatic increase in the deployment of outdoor small cells as UK operators intensify efforts to tackle poor data performance in dense urban areas. Operators will be concentrating their efforts on improving 4G coverage and capacity. The trend to use Wi-Fi calling in hard to reach areas is increasing as an attempt to achieve cellular calls in poor cellular coverage areas, although quality of service for Wi-Fi calling may not be as good as a small cell solution. Small cells can help to address the poor quality in dense urban areas but the potential of creating additional interference should not be overlooked. iWireless engineers have been heavily engaged with urban small cell integration with operators and have developed a “Metro Cell Deployment Guide” which is used as a basis for designing and deploying effective coverage and capacity solutions in dense outdoor environments. The need for increasing small cells is compounded further by the ever rising number of connected devices which is increasingly driven by IoT.
IoT is still a developing technology – but with ever growing importance and applications. As its importance grows so does the demand for connectivity, increasing the strain on current wireless infrastructures. This leads back to the challenge around licenced spectrum. As seen at the recent CES event (Jan’ 2017), the number of IoT products is set to increase drastically this year as it is implemented across many sectors. It also supports the growth of green technology, such as connected lighting and heating, connected vehicles, and smart meters helping people to manage their energy usage more effectively.
Growing influence of wireless
Our final major trend is the ever growing importance of wireless this year, affecting numerous industries increasingly. For example, wireless has become a legal requirement in the construction industry with the introduction of Document R which came into effect on 1st January 2017. We will be exploring this in further detail over the next weeks.
With all these developments in wireless technologies there are many opportunities for the industry as a whole but also big challenges like airspace monitoring, which is key to deliver the ultimate user experience. All the trends we have focused on are interlinked and highlight the importance of reliable and high quality wireless connectivity as the key ingredient in the future of all wireless technology. To find out how we can help create a robust wireless infrastructure get in touch with us today by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 01342 305038.