MEETING RECAP: ComTech Forum on Modern Wireless Infrastructure

Author: Telecom Council staff 

With all the news coming out of MWC Barcelona about 5G, March is a great time for the Telecom Council to address the subject of Modern Wireless Infrastructure. So we met at Samsung in Mountain View to discuss the changes in topology, modulation, infrastructure, and usage of the next decade’s wireless networks. Our meeting was sponsored by modern network specialist, Mavenir. Full details on this agenda, speakers, startup pitches, and attendees are available in Telecom Council’s meeting archive.

As usual, we kicked off with a presentation from a leading industry analyst, to “describe the playing field” for the rest of the day. Joe Madden of Mobile Experts showed us how 5G will enable some new use cases around low-latency and IoT, but will still largely be driven by a fundamental shift in the cost per GB of data transmitted, which has stepped down with each successive “G”. Because smartphones, with their small screens, are mostly sated already when they have solid 4G connections, the impact of 5G will be diminished in that market, so consumers (smartphones) won’t see much benefit from 5G. In contrast, enterprise applications that have latency requirements, or cost limitations will be those most likely to flourish with 5G.

Raj Alur, VP of Business Development at Mavenir offered us a keynote speech with a vision for modern network architecture, including the benefits of

  • cloudification
  • virtualization
  • C-RAN, V-RAN

Ultimately these technologies offer economic scalability, COTS pricing, and network agility.

Our panel discussed the deployment issues and opportunities of 5G. David Witkowski moderate the panel, and kicked it off with a mention of how hard it is to deploy 5G equipment in small-cell configurations, because we will need significantly more POPs, and the public resistance is palpable. Whether right or wrong, citizens are rejecting additional cellular equipment near their homes. Witkowski points out that much of this is a design issue – design an ugly-looking tech jumble low on a street pole, and we should expect people to reject it. The tech is safe, but it also needs to look inoffensive.

The panelists went on to discuss chipsets and network equipment that would make 5G scalable, well-integrated into streetscapes, and economically viable. Critical issues discussed included

  • power demand
  • passive cooling
  • design
  • band compatibility
  • backhaul

As always, we ended the day with a suite of rapid-fire startup pitches. This time with 9 innovators making a fast presentation of their most appealing value-proposition. All of these brief presentations remain accessible to members via the Members’ Library.

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