Whenever articles like AT&T GigaPower vs. Google Fiber: Why AT&T Will Win the High-Speed Broadband Race are published, we wonder – is fixed wireless the elephant in the room? Or is it not even in the same building?
This article, like many before it on proliferating high-speed broadband access, centers the arms race between AT&T and Google as to who can build the most extensive fiber network. Given reports of Google Fiber’s building delays and AT&T’s growing problems, more fiber alone is not the answer. The solution to economically and efficiently bringing high-speed broadband to where it currently does not exist is the hybrid network. Using a blend of technologies such as Wi-Fi, satellite connectivity, Digital Subscriber line (DSL)and fixed wireless to comprise or extend a fiber network to the home – versus laying fiber to every home and commercial building – makes pure economic sense for network operators, and is much closer to reality.
It’s important to note that we already live in a world of hybrid connectivity: According to the United Nations’ latest Internet Communications Technology statistics, 43.8 households in 100 worldwide have Internet access at home, and 9.8 out of 100 have fixed (wired) broadband subscriptions. This means that the majority of residential Internet users get online via any one of the technologies mentioned above.
In particular, fixed wireless enables operators to get the most out of their fiber backbones, and we have ample evidence of this with installations in Canada, Italy and Hungary. As those customers have discovered, fixed wireless is just as reliable as wireline (as we also noted in our recent top five fixed wireless myths blog) and is capable of offering symmetric and asymmetric broadband services. Most of broadband’s benefits are delivered with a 10-20 Mbps connection. Another distinct advantage it has over fiber specifically is its affordability for network operators.
Installing a wireline network requires tremendous overhead, as outlined in this diagram provided to us by a well-known global provider of video systems, Industrial Video and Control (IVC) for a major construction site in the southeastern United States:
The bulk of the cost to install wireline networks is attributed to trenching, the costly and disruptive practice of digging up streets and sidewalks to lay fiber underground. Google Fiber’s mission is noble and laudable. But building a new fiber network requires a significant amount of invested time and energy to bring to fruition. In the three years since the Kansas City endeavor began, countless fixed wireless networks could have been installed for a fraction of the time and money. Here is a projection for a fixed wireless broadband installation from the same IVC installation outlined above:
This savings of 92 percent over a wireline deployment for a network with the exact same capabilities speaks for itself. If you have to trench anywhere, consider the alternatives. Creative hybrid solutions can ease the complexities of bringing high-quality, fast Internet connectivity to a community that fiber simply isn’t delivering.
For more on the economics of fixed wireless, download our white paper.
How did you find your job? On LinkedIn? Through connecting with a long lost schoolmate who now works at your dream company? Job hunting online has become the norm, to the point that households facing unemployment will prioritize having connectivity at home, even in the face of financial hardship.
Metrics in the NTIA’s annual report, “Exploring the Digital Nation: Embracing the Mobile Internet,” point to an increase in Internet adoption among the unemployed. In 2012, 75 percent of households facing unemployment had computers at home to aid in job seeking, a jump in 21 percentage points over 2001, when only 54 percent of unemployed householders owned a computer. Seventy percent of unemployed householders had home Internet access in 2012, compared to 50 percent in 2003.
It’s possible that the next time the same statistics are fielded, researchers will also ask about triple play connectivity for households facing unemployment, considering what high-speed Internet enables for job seekers:
Data: We read with interest this article about a woman in Kenya who was unable to send her 5Mb-sized job application to a non-governmental organization from a cyber café because the connection was too slow. With employers requiring attachments that can get quite large – examples of graphic work or scanned diplomas, for example – a broadband connection can be a major advantage in simply responding to an opening.
Video: On average, job hunters “leverage 16 sources during the hiring process”, according to an article in Forbes. This includes Vimeo, YouTube and other channels where companies offer a glimpse into their work culture, success stories and projects they’re working on. Additionally, six in 10 HR managers surveyed by OfficeTeam said they often use video conferencing to screen candidates.
Voice: With the popularity of such virtual interviews, just having a faster upload speed can help a candidate and in general, it enables more reliable VoIP service.
Almost every service provider has them - those spots where only a few customers exist. Customers in those locations want high speed, low latency connectivity, but It’s been hard to justify the cost of deploying a PMP 450 AP.
Cambium Networks is happy to introduce the PMP 450 AP Lite. Providing the full 125 Mbps throughput and low latency proven in thousands of deployments, the Lite AP is software limited to serve up to 10 subscribers. This solution enables you to expand the network in three ways:
MicroPOP – In an area that is hard to reach via the main network, you may need to deploy a “remote AP” or a MicroPOP that can reach a few extra customers. The PMP 450 AP Lite provides an opportunity connect these locations at lower capital expenditure and a faster ROI.
Cost effective 360⁰ coverage - In an area with few subscribers located in different directions from the tower site location (i.e. all around the potential tower site), it may be too expensive to deploy 4 sectors of PMP 450 Access Points. You may be tempted to consider the use of an omni-directional antenna on a single PMP 450 AP in order to limit the cost. Using an omni-directional antenna in this case has limitations and is generally not a good idea from a technical standpoint. First, an omni antenna uses a single frequency and pushes in in all directions, hampering the ability to utilize that frequency elsewhere in the network (i.e. causes frequency pollution or spectral noise). Second, the range is quite limited using an omni, as the maximum gain is hampered, and the antenna characteristics are often degraded. With the PMP 450 AP Lite, now an efficient sectorized deployment is a viable option that makes much better use of spectrum, provides longer range, and a better ability to plan and maintain the frequency plan of the overall network.
Unconnected opportunities - If other (less costly) technologies are being explored due to low user density or constraints on ARPU, the PMP 450 is now an option with a proven track record.
Service providers can now deploy high performance wireless broadband connectivity to locations with fewer than 10 customers, and only spend additional capital for the over-the-air license key to add capacity when additional customer prospects become available.
Improve your cash flow and return on investment by reaching those low density areas this Spring.
For leased-line replacement in critical infrastructure and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) applications, long-term reliability is critical to both the operational mission as well as return on investment. Many of our customers issue requests for proposals that ask for the MTBF, or Mean Time Between Failure, on our ruggedized PTP solutions. Our response is that based on field return data on more than 10 years of shipments, we can predict a greater than 100-year MTBF. Based on more than 14 months of deployments with PTP 650, our latest sub-6 GHz PTP product, this reliability level has been achieved once again. But reaching MTBF exceeding a century does not happen by luck or wishing for it. One-hundred-year MTBF product development is in our engineering DNA and evident in our circuit design, component selection, design validation testing and factory testing.
Before each design is even released to the factory, units are designed with industrial-grade components. Then the design is tested by third party lab facilities to ensure compliance with military standards (MIL-STD-810G) for shock, vibration, temperature, humidity and exposure to salt fog to simulate corrosive environments – basically the most intense environments that would ever befall our equipment. Samples are submerged in one meter of water for 30 minutes to make sure everything is air and water tight against the elements, and even placed in a wind tunnel and subjected to 200 miles per hour (320 kilometers per hour) winds to ensure everything stays in alignment.
At the factory, every single PTP 650 is validated to function at any temperature between -40°C (-40°F) to 60°C (140°F). Each unit is placed in an oven and functionally tested (ability to pass data to another radio) at room temperature, -40°C and 60°C. The test ensures that the radio will start up even after sitting idle at -40°C. That is a 100 percent confirmation on every unit leaving our factory.
To make sure the link keeps operating and the data keeps flowing, our LINKPlanner design tool provides an availability prediction enabling what-if scenarios to determine the deployment steps needed to reach 99.999 percent reliability.
And while operational, the radio continuously self-optimizes for reliable connectivity with Dynamic Spectrum Optimization™.
Deploying a private wireless network to replace leased lines is a low-hanging fruit project to reduce operating expenses. To learn more about PTP 650 and the reliable service that adopters are currently experiencing, read about our successful deployments in networks all over the world: Z-Net (Hungary), Hackensack UMC (US) and Traeger Park (Australia).
Mobile World Congress concludes today, and one of the show’s last panel discussions centers on a favorite topic of ours – how to connect small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs). For over a decade, Cambium Networks has been deeply entrenched in delivering broadband to where it’s most difficult and helping communities succeed by providing them high-quality Internet access. This connectivity allows SMEs to establish themselves in such communities and contribute to local, domestic and global economies. Fulfilling SMEs’ needs across industries is a key consideration for us as we develop new technologies.
According to a World Bank report cited in “Growing the global economy through SMEs” by Edinburgh Group, “estimates suggest that more than 95 percent of enterprises across the world are SMEs, accounting for approximately 60 percent of private sector employment.” While the global importance of SMEs is undeniable, the fact remains that connecting them is a complex endeavor.
Let’s look at three categories of network operators and their varying abilities to serve this market:
1. Mobile: By mobile carriers we are referring to carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Vodafone and Telefónica. Mobility carriers can certainly offer the bandwidth SMEs need but the spectrum with which they serve, as well as the engineering of their networks, are not designed for a residential or SME customer. Their service is designed to support handheld users, not those needing tripleplay services on their desktop computers or streaming video to a television. With few high bandwidth users in that particular cellular segment, mobile operators’ service to their bread-and-butter subscribers – mobile phone users – will degrade.
2. Fixed wireline: Fixed wireline carriers include those using DSL, fiber and coaxial cable to deliver connectivity. These carriers are limited to the bandwidth that can be carried on the copper that serves SMEs. Increasing bandwidth often requires placing expensive electronics closer to the subscriber to overcome the inherent limitations of the physical media. While driving fiber deeper into the access network provides great flexibility and the rates of bandwidth SMEs desire, it comes with substantial cost to network operators.
Moreover, fixed wireline is just not possible for SMEs with dispersed workforces, sensor networks and connected devices. It’s impossible to trench to every video surveillance camera, for example. This limits fixed wireline to human-to-human and building-to-building communications, versus machine-to-machine.
3. Fixed wireless: Fixed wireless is a proven technology used to extend fiber networks inexpensively to areas outside embedded plant reach for what is known as last-mile connectivity. It offers bandwidth comparable or greater than most physical media at a significantly lower cost. A key differentiator of fixed wireless as the Internet of Things continues to gather steam is its unmatched flexibility for the most rapidly growing services of machine-to-machine connectivity.
Mobility companies are at the mercy of the expensive spectrum they own. Fixed wireless most often uses unlicensed spectrum in multiple frequencies allowing the provider great flexibility. These multiple options of available spectrum allow a fixed wireless carrier to continue to be able to increase bandwidth and proliferate connectivity without degrading existing services. Moreover, this flexibility and ease of deployment makes fixed wireless a natural choice for developing economies where fixed wireline network infrastructure may not be as widespread or robust.
This week in Barcelona has flown by, and we are heartened by the new relationships we’ve made and the feedback we’ve heard on our portfolio. If you were unable to stop by our booth, please feel free to reach out to [email protected] for any questions you may have, or check our events calendar, which is regularly updated, for the industry events and trade shows we’ll be attending.
 Ayyagari, M., Demirgüç-Kunt, A. and Maksimovic, V. (2011), Small vs. Young Firms Across The World – Contribution to Employment, Job Creation, and Growth, Policy Research Working Paper 5631 (The World Bank Development Research Group).
There was an interesting session at Mobile World Congress yesterday on the many enterprise applications of the Internet of Things, and challenges and barriers to their adoption. Unsurprisingly, high cost and security issues remain primary barriers to installing IoT networks for business purposes. But there’s no doubt that the enterprise IoT market is growing. The Business Insider report hyperlinked above notes that the enterprise sector is the largest for IoT, ahead of consumer and government, and spending on enterprise IoT products and services will reach $255 billion globally by 2019, up from $46.2 billion in 2013.
From our perspective, we’ve seen certain front-runner applications in different industries that will pave the way for others on the horizon:
Oil and Gas – Use cases of IoT (industrial Internet of Things) networks in the oil and gas industry are well documented, from remote condition monitoring to advancing the latest extraction techniques. Other IoT applications we’ve seen include operation automation for systems, components and devices; remote control of different parts of the grid or specific oil pads; broadband communications and monitoring of the environment around offshore oil platforms to ensure compliance with EPA regulations; real time video monitoring and surveillance; and preventative maintenance reporting. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We predict that given this industry’s size and global importance, many IoT applications have yet to be conceptualized and will make their debut in oil and gas.
Agriculture – We know a farmer in the Pacific Northwest who uses our equipment to monitor his hundreds of acres of crops. Through knowing the exact moisture level of every acre of his land, he is able to conserve water by only watering when and where it is absolutely necessary. As 70 percent of the world’s total water withdrawal is used for agriculture, increasing irrigation efficiency on a global scale would have a tremendously positive effect on every farmer’s livelihood and our planet’s ability to feed itself.
Retail – A component of IoT, radio frequency identification (RFID), has been used in the retail sector for years. Originally, it was marketed as a technology to increase supply-chain efficiency, but in their experimentation with RFID, retailers found an even more useful application. Now is RFID’s big-bang moment as its ability to wirelessly communicate inventory accuracy allows retailers to create a truly omnichannel shopping experience, helping brick-and-mortar stores competing with ecommerce sites. By knowing when to replenish a particular color and size of a shirt, for example, retailers won’t lose out on an in-store sales opportunity. Of course, clothing chains aren’t the only businesses that have suffered since the advent of online shopping. If RFID reverses this tide, then it’s a good bet that other businesses in the same boat can take a page from Macy’s book.
Are there any enterprise applications of IoT you’ve seen in practice? Be sure to tell us in the comments below. If you’re in Barcelona, come chat with us at Stand 7B41 in Hall 7, and find out how our technology fits into existing and future enterprise networks.