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Forget About the Internet of Everything!

By J. Sharpe Smith, Senior Editor

Predictions of a single interconnected network, referred to as the Internet of Everything (IoX), that will allow diverse sensors to interact, aren’t going to materialize, according to a recent industry report.

“Many smart applications have emerged, but they are using different networks, because customers are making independent decisions on network technology and devices — meaning the markets are growing more vertically instead of horizontally,” said Joe Madden, principal analyst, Mobile Experts.

But that doesn’t mean that the IoT industry has not matured, according to a recent report, LPWA 2018. During the last two years, IoT has moved from the chaos of having 15 competing wireless formats to the clarity of two front runners, LoRa (which stands for Long Range) for private networks and NB-IoT (Narrowband-IoT), for public networks.

“Overall, we see two major market areas emerging here, with distinct needs for private networks and other requirements for high RF performance and wide coverage,” Madden wrote in the executive summary of the report. “LoRa and NB-IoT are the big winners.”

Mobile Experts studied the economics and business cases of LTE-M versus NB-IoT, LoRa and others such as SigFox and Weightless. The group found that NB-IoT benefits from lower costs for the devices compared with LTE-M.

“LTE-M is not going to be as successful as LoRa and NB-IoT,” Madden said. “NB-IoT benefits from lower cost devices. In Canada, they promoted NB-IoT and developed lower cost chipsets than LTE-M.” The Chinese government is also playing a role in the success of NB-IoT, subsidizing devices and semiconductors. Plus, all three state-owned mobile operators are deploying nationwide NB-IoT networks.

Regardless of RF performance, Madden said that some technologies are favored because they allow enterprises to own and operate their own networks.

“This gives LoRa a major boost, along with a few other unlicensed technologies that focus on specific vertical markets,” he wrote. “LoRa takes best advantage of the private-network business model because of its open ecosystem and good RF/battery performance.”

For more information on LPWA 2018, visit here.

J. Sharpe Smith
Senior Editor/eDigest
J. Sharpe Smith joined AGL in 2007 as contributing editor to the magazine and as editor of eDigest email newsletter. He has 29 years of experience writing about industrial communications, paging, cellular, small cells, DAS and towers. Previously, he worked for the Enterprise Wireless Alliance as editor of the Enterprise Wireless Magazine. Before that, he edited the Wireless Journal for CTIA and he began his wireless journalism career with  Phillips Publishing, now Access Intelligence.  Sharpe Smith may be contacted at: [email protected]

Mobile Experts Releases IoT Forecast

By The Editors of AGL

Mobile Experts has released an update on the future of the Internet of Things, after two years investigating the IoT market from the bottom up.

Mobile Experts interviewed customers like Ford, GE, Johnson Controls, PG&E, UPS, and Kaiser Permanente to gain a view of the top tier in five key vertical markets.  Over 150 interviews have built up the forecast one market area at a time.  Then, the top-tier enterprise view was compared with input from dozens of semiconductor vendors, to triangulate on a realistic forecast.

“The IoT market has started a new growth phase due to the release of new wireless formats, including BLE, LoRa, LTE-M, and NB-IoT,” said Principal Analyst Joe Madden. “These are a solid improvement on prior wireless formats, since they offer long-range connectivity with long battery life. Over the long term, we expect the current list of 70 IoT connectivity technologies to consolidate down to 20-25 technologies, based on seven key differentiating factors that we describe in more detail in this report.”

Mobile Experts’ predictions show an installed base of 6-10 billion IoT devices in 2020, while many others are estimating 20 billion devices in 2020.

“More than 10 billion RFID tags are shipping this year, so a lot of the market hype is based on large numbers of devices that cost ten cents each,” Madden said. “We don’t include RFID in our IoT forecast, but we analyze RFID in great detail because existing techniques like RFID, AMR/AMI, and telematics have already established an ecosystem in key vertical markets.

“There is important growth in the existing markets, and the examples of RFID, telematics, and smart meters are a good way to gauge the speed of growth in newer markets,” he added. “We followed a logical approach, to avoid guesswork in every step of our process.”

Shentel, AT&T Trials Feature Massive MIMO

February 16, 2017 – Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel) and AT&T have complete completed multiple commercial trials featuring a Massive MIMO in licensed Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) LTE spectrum using technology from Blue Danube Systems.

The trials were conducted using Blue Danube’s BeamCraft 500 active antenna product for advanced 3D beamforming, which is capable of delivering 160 watts of transmit power for a Massive MIMO system. Based on its underlying High Definition Active Antenna System (HDAAS) technology, the 96-element BeamCraft 500 can intelligently and seamlessly focus signal energy where it is needed, allowing wireless carriers to better serve high demand areas and minimize interference zones.

“The demand for Massive MIMO solutions continues to increase as industry gears towards delivering 4G advancements and 5G. Mobile carriers are looking for innovative and cost-effective ways to improve network capacity and Blue Danube’s BeamCraft 500 is the first product designed to provide operators a low friction upgrade at existing sites targeting lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) for high-capacity,” said Earl Lum, president at EJL Wireless Research.

The trials supported more than 10 terabits of data during a three-month period through a simple retrofit of the existing antenna with Blue Danube’s BeamCraft 500 unit. At the trial sites, users experienced an improvement of 2X to 5X in throughput in high traffic demand areas using the same transmit power as the legacy installation. Additionally, users received up to 20X improvement in instantaneous video throughput and experienced smooth 1080p HD videos in locations where existing systems were stalling and previously only capable of 144p.

“Massive MIMO opens up a new way to boost capacity in mobile telecom, by using the spatial dimension and multiple antennas to create multiple paths that re-use spectrum more effectively.   Instead of waiting for 5G, mobile operators are upgrading thousands of TD-LTE base stations with Massive MIMO this year,” said Joe Madden, founder and principal analyst at Mobile Experts. “It’s an exciting development which, as it gains momentum, may be able to leap into the FDD market as well.”

A second phase of trials is now ongoing to test additional operational modes and traffic scenarios.



A Sluggish Start–But Wireless Backhaul Will Grow Ten-fold by 2020

December 15, 2016 — Mobile Experts has released fresh numbers and analysis that explain why the wireless backhaul market has started out slow, then how it will rise over the next four years. Fixed Wireless Access is also covered in the annual Mobile Experts breakdown of backhaul, fronthaul, and midhaul for small cells.

To create estimates and forecasts for the Small Cell market, the Mobile Experts analysts rely on direct input from more than 55 industry sources, with an array of mobile operators contributing to the overall analysis. The goal achieved in this latest report is a detailed, global view of the market. Mobile Experts has built a “top down” forecast based on this direct input from mobile operators and based on trends in end-user demand for mobile services, and a “bottom up” forecast through discussions with OEMs and semiconductor suppliers in the supply chain.

According to the Mobile Experts report, by 2021, 28 percent of all small base stations shipped will use wireless transport—an increase from only 3 percent in 2016. This change stems from split-baseband RRH units that will take over the small cell market with lower throughput requirements, which will allow wireless midhaul to come into play instead of fiber fronthaul.

The report explains how non-line of sight (NLOS) wireless systems will account for 70-80% of wireless transport in the 2016-17 timeframe, but operators with 5G plans will start to move decisively toward LOS solutions with higher throughput in the 2019-21 timeframe.  In related news, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) has emerged as a significant market for very similar solutions, with enterprises and service providers growing tired of waiting for fiber. Mobile Experts predicts that FWA is likely to be bigger than the small cell market in driving demand for wireless PTP and PMP links.

“In the end, the wireless backhaul/fronthaul market will get healthier than it has been, but fiber is still king,” says Madden. “With 5G deployment looming, operators are concerned with deployment of any link that isn’t future-proof for 5G. Fiber network development will be the primary focus for most operators.    We have used this report as an opportunity to illuminate the Fixed Wireless Access market to show an alternative path for wireless backhaul vendors.”

The Backhaul Report offers detailed charts and figures illustrating the extensive data illuminating the extent of wireless adoption and the future of the market.

Enterprise DAS Demand Rises as Carrier Sales Tapers

October 13, 2016 — The DAS market is undergoing some big changes as it transitions from a carrier-led model to enterprise-funded sales, according to the annual DAS report published by Mobile Experts.

Chart 1: Global DAS Market Size, including Service & Installation, 2015 - 2021 (PRNewsFoto/Mobile Experts LLC)

Chart 1: Global DAS Market Size, including Service & Installation, 2015 – 2021 (PRNewsFoto/Mobile Experts LLC)

The DAS supplier market is consolidating, and second-tier suppliers are gaining share as weaker players exit the market, according to the report.  The pent-up demand from enterprises is raising the market outlook for all segments of the in-building mobile infrastructure market including small cells, DAS, and repeaters, and laying a foundation for high-capacity in-building solutions in the future.

“This year marks a transition point for the DAS market,” commented Senior Analyst Kyung Mun. “The supplier market is consolidating, pushing out weaker players while nimble players are devising product and market strategies to address the growing enterprise segments.  The enterprise market will offset declines in carrier-led projects, driving single-digit growth overall.”

While the traditional DAS market outlook remains stable in the near term, it will soon turn a corner. New unlicensed LTE small cell technologies may exert disruptive forces in this market. DAS has entered a phase of transformation where DAS suppliers are gearing up for the enterprise market.

“Large public enterprise venues such as multi-tenant office buildings, hospitals and large hotels remain fertile ground for enterprise-centric DAS solutions.  By our estimate, this represents about 18 billion square feet of floor space in the US alone,” remarked Senior Analyst Kyung Mun.

The research includes 38 charts and figures that visually illustrate key points in the 65-page report. The report provides a comprehensive view of the technology trends and business model changes in the market for DAS. Convergence with small cells, Wi-Fi, and public safety are covered in detail, as well as investigation of Neutral Hosted systems and new business models such as Enterprise DAS.