By Ernest Worthman —
Enterprise Multi-Mode products started to move into the mainstream. Nearly all the major RAN vendors said they are developing commercial multi-mode small cell products. What that means is that vendors are beginning to see the potential to address millions of non-residential buildings.
Small Cells saw some real progress in hardware. We’ve seen complete “network in a box” solutions from several vendors, leading to unusual and innovative applications. I think we can expect to hear of some pretty exciting and varied use cases next year. Another example is the statistic that there we have more than 10 million small cells in deployment in 2015. Many of them residential, but there was a definite uptick in both enterprise and urban deployments, and Verizon was at the head of the pack with actually rolling out some commercial small cell deployments.
We saw some bright spots for 5G with trials actually being demonstrated under real world conditions with promising results. There are still some issues with moving these trials to the real world at scale, but the progress this year is promising. The next stage will be to get some standards on the books and get trials out there with these standards.
VoLTE gained a bunch of momentum this year. Everywhere one turned there was news about it. There were network launches virtually every month.
Overall, I think 2015 was a staging year for a lot of technologies; small cells, Wi-Fi evolution, VoLTE, LTE-U, LAA, 5G, the IoE, and many other sectors. While there was movement, it was a little movement in a lot of places. This means that there are a lot of technologies on the edge, waiting for the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place. I also think that there is a fair amount of steam being built up in these various sectors.