Articles by Peter Rysavy
Two global wireless technology juggernauts are about to play in the same yard and how they behave with each other will shape the future of mobile broadband for decades to come. The cellular industry, responding to huge consumer demands, needs to increase network capacity, and operating LTE in unlicensed spectrum bands will provide a huge boost. But Wi-Fi uses these same spectrum bands. Can these two technologies co-exist?
The success of the mobile broadband industry is due in part to a light regulatory touch that has encouraged massive investments and resulted in one of the most successful industries of all time. This industry, however, is still in the relatively early stages and will grow and evolve in ways that cannot be predicted. It will be successful to the extent that unnecessary regulatory strangleholds, especially ones that treat wireless and wireline equally, do not hold it back.
With 5G now officially on the drawing boards, an obvious question is how will new wireless broadband networks perform compared to wireline alternatives such as fiber, coax or DSL? An even better question is what will these networks need to look like to provide sufficient broadband capability for a majority of customers, one that lets them cut the cord to their wired broadband connection if they so desire?
Untethered is better. We love our smartphones, tablets, Bluetooth headsets, wireless keyboards and mice, wireless speakers, and ever more gadgets that connect us to work, family, friends, entertainment, and emerging applications in areas such as health, education, and energy consumption. With 4G offering fantastic performance, many users are cutting the cord to their wired broadband connection, electing for one monthly broadband bill instead of two.
Although technology has brought marvels in mobile computing, it has provided means to use all of the radio resources on which mobile computing depends. Wireless networks are a hundred times faster than just ten years ago, but their rich, interactive, streaming-oriented applications consume all available capacity and demand more. Managing this critical radio resource and determining the most effective spectrum-allocation policies require an understanding of what constitutes the most efficient use of spectrum.
Rysavy: Vehicles and mobility are converging but fragmentation, lack of standards may hinder progress
Two extremely common activities that people engage in are driving and interacting with their mobile broadband devices. Although sometimes people do both at the same time, these have largely been two separate industries. Now they are converging--one might even say they are on a collision course, although avoiding collisions is actually one of the primary objectives for people working in this industry.
It sounds so appealing. You have a valuable resource but you don't need it all the time. Why not let somebody else use it when you're not using it? The resource in this case is spectrum, and the primary user for the bands under consideration is the government.