CTIA 2012 Wireless Conference

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Wow, is all I can say. What a great conference. This was my first time at the CTIA conference and I was very impressed. This was a massive show, tens of thousands in attendance. I’ve already signed up for my CCIE wireless written exam and am ready to start my journey in the wireless arena – 3G/4G, DAS, and WiFi will be on my resume in the near future.

Small Cell and Wifi offload were big topics as well as spectrum availability. The FCC chairman discussed the spectrum issues and today Bill Clinton gave the keynote. The CEO panel discussion/keynote was also very interesting but a little too high-level, pie-in-the-sky, for me.

The short of it. Consumer mobile bandwidth demand is increasing at a staggering rate, if nothing is done demand will surpass supply by 2014. Of course nobody is going to sit idly by and do nothing. In order to keep up with that bandwidth demand the coverage area or “cell” needs to get smaller, supporting less users, but increasing overall bandwidth for those users. There were a lot of small cell products being touted at the show. These are basically small base stations with all of the necessary components built-in. Mount and power and plug-in your backhaul.

Another component of the solution is WiFi offload. Currently most smart mobile devices like tablets and smartphones have built-in 3G/4G radios as well as WiFi radios. When both are active in most cases the device puts the data over the WiFi and the voice over the cellular side – whether the actually quality of service on the WiFi is better than the 3G/4G or not. Part of the offload solution is to begin building in intelligent routing algorithms into the devices that make network selection decisions based on quality of service and bandwidth availability. In other words, make use of the best available network based on dynamic quality measurements.

More to come as I get more and more into the service provider/carrier grade wireless networks.

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