2016: The Year of Transition
In the dynamic HetNet world, each new year always brings significant changes, but this year just feels different.
The reduction in distributed antenna system (DAS) funding by AT&T and others has left a mark on the industry, forcing everyone to reevaluate their business models. No longer will players in the in-building DAS ecosystem rely on carriers to drive their business; rather, attention will shift to the enterprise to drive growth.
With this shift will come new funding models that depend heavily on the enterprise funding in-building wireless infrastructure. Small cells and digital DAS systems will reduce deployment costs, but there will be trade-offs as we eagerly await wide-scale adoption of the Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI), which we hope will solve the troublesome issue of acquiring the carrier’s RF signal/source. And we would be remiss if we didn’t give the new NFPA and IFC fire codes significant attention, and thereby risked hefty expenses down the road.
In 2016, building owners constructing LEED-certified buildings will continue to grapple with indoor cellular and public-safety coverage, and now, armed with small cell and digital DAS solutions, they’ll have an additional decision to make: should I wire with coax, twisted-pair, fiber, or a combination? Now don’t get me wrong, I believe we’re still a year or two away from seeing many of these products and services become fully institutionalized. It’s possible that 2016 will also be a year of surviving on the bleeding-edge of technology; time will tell. If you happen to be participating in these transitions, we’d love to hear your stories and to share them—please email me at email@example.com.