Every major sporting event provides the communications industry an opportunity to show off the latest equipment and timing systems at its stadiums and venues, and upgrade communications and surveillance infrastructure in host cities. While you are broadcasting to the world, you need precise timing, very low latency, and highly reliable systems to ensure flawless execution. The 2014 FIFA World Cup set some trends and gave us a glimpse of the infrastructure Brazil will have in place for the 2016 Summer Games.
Before we begin, we need to level set. Let’s remember 12 cities in Brazil hosted the World Cup, which required significant infrastructure developments across all cities, including seven new stadiums and five renovated stadiums. Maracanã in Rio de Janiero, the largest stadium in South America, holds 71,159 seats (the new San Francisco 49ers Stadium called Levis’s Stadium will have 68,500 seats, expandable to 75,000). On top of this, Brazil still needs to finish Olympic venues and also some new airport terminals – minor details.
Live streaming: But amazingly throughout the tournament, football – yes, football – could be viewed on the streets. If you weren't lucky enough to be in the stadium, you joined thousands of your new best friends on the street to watch live streams of the matches. Many major international cities have adopted these mobile giant screen TVs, which frequently use microwave point-to-point backhaul to deliver live feeds.
Video surveillance: Given the crowds, local police forces implemented video surveillance in many areas to manage local security. If you ever wonder how security shows up within 30 seconds of an incident, you now know why: Host cities don’t want them to make headlines. Cambium Networks installed a video surveillance network in Salvador, Bahia built specifically for the World Cup to ensure local security and safety.
Stadium connectivity: Lastly, the stadium is the most challenging because you have to telecast a match to the world while ensuring spectators’ safety, so there must be a lot of video surveillance on site with very accurate time stamping. And let us not forget the fans that want to let the rest of us outside how much fun it was and how lucky they were to be in the stadium. There would have been various communications layers on site such as cellular, Wi-Fi and possibly small cells to handle the traffic being generated by over 70,000 fans with smartphones. Data offloading from cellular networks was definitely stress tested.
So as we look back on the 2014 FIFA World Cup, let us not forget what it takes to host such an event across 12 cities. And from a personal standpoint, that Spain needs to do some serious soul searching. Parabéns aos brasileiros para hospedar uma Copa do Mundo FIFA tão espetacular!
For network operators, specifically wireless broadband service providers, delivering connectivity to small- and medium-sized businesses is one of the fastest growing and most profitable sources of new business. Of course, it is also the most competitive area with the most demanding customers, behooving participants to get smart about SMB services.
I’m defining business services as typically 10 - 100 Mbps symmetrical services with defined service level agreements for availability. This service might be deployed with a two-year agreement and may or may not include an upfront installation charge. Price points for these services are dictated by market forces primarily driven by whether or not alternative technologies or providers are available.
Let’s take a look at a very simple ROI model and example. For a customer paying $300/month with a $300 installation charge will yield $7,500 revenue over the initial two year agreement. This “budget” can be allocated into roughly equal thirds: the first third for equipment and installation costs, the second third for on-going maintenance and bandwidth costs, and the final third for profit. This split yields the network operator a 33 percent margin and a simple payback period of less than 16 months.
The biggest variables in this model for the operator are the initial cost of the equipment and on-going support costs. The network operator can optimize ROI by selecting the solution that delivers the lowest total cost of ownership while meeting the service level agreements required to satisfy the end customer.
This week, Cambium Networks released two new products, the PTP 650L and the PTP 450. These are point-to-point (PTP) wireless broadband solutions that deliver business-class service levels including symmetrical data rates, low latency and high availability. Both solutions also offer complete monitoring and management solutions to enable reporting on service levels (using SNMP, syslog or Cambium’s Wireless Manager element management system).
By having a wide range of solutions at hand, the network operator can select the right equipment at the right functionality to price point ratio to tailor business services around an optimized return on investment.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail – hence, you must always choose the right tool for the job. This nugget of carpentry wisdom is applicable to many situations, choosing wireless broadband solutions included.
This is especially the case for point-to-point (PTP) solutions where the wireless broadband industry typically talks about PTP products as one-size-fits-all solutions with the only real difference being capacity. But the reality is that there are many different applications – traditional wireless ISP backhaul, mobile wireless backhaul, small-cell backhaul, video surveillance, tactical deployments, enterprise access and campus connectivity using private networks – which have requirements that will be weighted differently.
Today, Cambium Networks is introducing two new products to our PTP portfolio. The PTP 650L and PTP 450 are especially well-suited for enterprise access and video surveillance solutions with an optimized set of functionality and ROI to best suit network operators’ unique requirements.
The PTP 650L is an enterprise access solution for customers who place a high value on security, ruggedization, out-of-band management and self-optimizing channel selection and those requiring spectral efficiency and flexibility. The PTP 650L also supports a power over Ethernet (PoE) output port for a video camera and can be fiber-fed.
The PTP 450 focuses on video surveillance and enterprise access solutions at a lower price point and a smaller form factor while still offering near line of sight, TDD synchronization and support of both 5 GHz and 3 GHz spectrum. The PTP 450 can also be fitted with range extension accessories such as the clip and reflector dish.
Make the right PTP choice for your network by following another carpentry-related idiom: Measure twice, cut once. Look at the specific connectivity challenges you are facing and make sure you are selecting the perfect solution for the job. To talk with fellow network planners, visit our forum or plug in your own specs into LINKPlanner, our free tool for designing and configuring PTP links.
At commencements all over the world, graduates are hearing inspirational life advice from distinguished speakers, but little about how to successfully enter the workforce. Perhaps these nuggets are less grandiose, but they are vital to getting off on the right foot professionally.
As I look back on the years between the day I graduated and today, I’ve been lucky to take what I’d learned and build my career upon three calls to action:
1. Do what you are passionate about
2. Work for mentors, not money
3. Hone your emotional quotient
The first point should be obvious, but the degree to which it is consistently heeded is surprisingly low. Ask yourself how you want to make a difference and where you want to be in five years, and set out on that path now.
I was in the lucky class of graduates who started their careers in the nascent days of the tech industry. Microprocessors were just invented. We were able to ride the creation of a new industry. Today, the opportunities lie in the wireless industry and enabling ubiquitous connectivity. It’s a phenomenal field to be in, and in the next many decades, connecting the Internet of Things will be a killer app. If I were just starting today, I would also look at cloud computing and furthering low-cost wireless infrastructure, or green energy technology.
Entering the industry that interests you is the first step. Within that segment, be on the lookout for who a good mentor might be in the interview process or through networking. Find the people who will challenge you to jump to program management when you’ve been a coder, layer on another level of complexity just as you’ve made a breakthrough and give magnanimously of their time. These people may not be the highest bidders or work for the company you’ve had your sights on all throughout university. They will accelerate your learning and give you the ability to handle complexity.
As a leader, however, handling complexity encompasses not only having a strong understanding of how all parts fit together – hardware, software, systems integration – but also how people and teams work together in a diverse, global setting. A few years into my career, I participated in a network standards workshop with tinkerers from different countries, and had the opportunity to travel to customer sites around the world. This gave me a global perspective early on, something that has really stayed with me throughout my career. The ability to interact and communicate well with diverse audiences is crucial, differentiating between those with just technical skills and those who can create revenue-driving products fulfilling emerging customer needs.
To you in the cap and gown, you should feel very accomplished as you enter the workforce. By heeding the above or putting your own spin on it, there’s no doubt that your generation’s innovations will surpass the achievements of the last.
The majority of our customers operate in challenging RF environments. This can occur because of noise from other devices, but bodies of water, foliage and temperature inversions also wreak havoc on RF signals. The ability to resist interference, scale networks and continuously satisfy ever-increasing subscriber demands are vital to our customers’ profitability, and we have helped our customers thrive through matching their growth plans to network design.
Different communication transmission modes suit various stages of network development:
Start-up networks may choose the non-TDD Unsynchronized mode (non-GPS Sync solution) that operates similar to WiFi but offers better scalability at a single sector
More advanced networks may choose the Fixed TDD (GPS Synchronized) mode that is perfectly suited for a large number of users requiring high capacity, where spectral efficiency and scalability are essential
Generally, networks transition from unsynchronized to GPS Sync when the need arises for them to use limited spectrum more efficiently. But no matter which transmission mode customers choose, an ability to resist interference while still producing reliable throughput in spectrum-limited environments is critical.
At Cambium Networks, we designed the ePMP™ 1000 with flexibility and scalability in mind. The platform operates in both GPS synchronization as well as non-TDD unsynchronized modes with flexible DL to UL ratios to allow customers to grow their networks successfully and overcome interference.
ePMP’s reliability for either small or large subscriber deployments will enable network operators to reach their desired level of coverage, service and revenue. Maximize network performance using ePMP software with eFortify™ and eCommand™ features and tools. eFortify enhances the performance of the ePMP 1000 in high noise environments. eCommand provides a suite of management features and tools to assist network operators in planning, provisioning and monitoring of their network.
To learn more about the transition from Unsynchronized to GPS Synchronized solution using the flexibility of the ePMP 1000 portfolio and the benefits of each stage, please download our white paper.
This week is Lightning Safety Awareness Week, which focus on educating the public on avoiding injury or death due to lightning strike. Lightning is an on-going global concern for the wireless broadband industry, not only for the safety of employees but also for the protection of tower-mounted assets. Lightning can strike anywhere but as shown below in an image from NASA, the frequency of strikes is not evenly distributed. Our field-return and customer support data shows that lightning damage is the most common cause of failure on tower-mounted radio equipment. If not accounted for properly, lightning strikes can be a cause of damage for indoor equipment as well.
Much of this damage can be avoided with lightning protection units (LPUs) providing surge suppression. Cambium Networks recommends this deployment practice for all PTP 650 Series wireless broadband radios, which helps keep equipment damage and network outages to a minimum. This reduces network operating costs due to troubleshooting labor – not an activity employees relish in a storm – as well as costly equipment repairs and replacements.
Download information about the PTP 650 LPU to see an example of how a combination of grounding cables and lightning arrestors is the best insurance against lightning bolts for your wireless broadband assets.