Joe Madden

Articles by Joe Madden

Madden: Where will small cells be needed?

We found that a major American city reaches "Super Bowl" levels of data traffic between 2 and 3 years after its benchmark sporting event. New York City has recently reached 2013 Super Bowl levels of traffic density in its hotspots. We can expect San Francisco to reach the level of the 2015 Super Bowl in about 2017.

Madden: What we know and what we don't in 5G forecasts

A forecast was recently published, predicting "100 million 5G subscribers by 2025." Give me a break. Come on people, 5G is not defined yet. We don't know what the use cases are. We don't know what kind of terminals will be used. We don't know if "subscribers" is a relevant metric for 5G. We don't have any standards for new technology, with only the first study items underway now.

Madden: CRAN and DAS will converge for the enterprise

If you're reading this, then you work in the most disrupted market in the history of the world. The mobile telecom market contends with multiple technologies, each disrupting the other simultaneously. Small Cells? Yes. Wi-Fi? Yes. DAS? Yes. Cloud RAN? Yes.

Madden: The small cell world needs certification

Remember the early days of Wi-Fi? It's easy to forget that Wi-Fi technology went through a period of very slow growth, where proprietary systems did not interoperate well and many companies exited the market due to poor ROI. The Small Cell market reminds me of the 1980's and 1990's unlicensed market, and there are lessons to be learned from Wi-Fi history in today's ecosystem development.

Madden: 5G should focus on cost reduction too

Every time a new "G" comes around, the engineers try to define what it means in terms of technology. This worked fairly well for 2G, 3G, and 4G, where each generation involved a new way of scrambling the bits for highest spectral efficiency.

Madden: The small cell market takes a coffee break

For the past five years, Mobile Experts has been the most conservative analyst firm in the femtocell and small cell market. That's why we were selected to track the market on behalf of the Small Cell Forum. We've predicted flat numbers for femtocells (nailed that one) and we've predicted steady growth in carrier-deployed small cells, which has been accurate through the end of 2013.

Madden: Yes, LTE small cells are cheaper than macro

Recently I saw a comment from one of the major base station OEMs, saying that "Small cells are not cheaper than macro base stations." Hogwash. Look into the true costs of adding capacity to the network. Comparing LTE macro and indoor small cells, significant cost differences emerge:

Madden: What's the trigger point for small cells?

During the past 18 months, a few Asian operators have deployed significant numbers of small cells. On the other side of the world, mobile operators are experimenting and deploying only small numbers of small cells. There are millions of LTE subscribers in North America, so why don't we have millions of small cells in the United States today? The difference comes down to density. LTE doesn't drive a need for small cells all by itself, and the sheer weight of data traffic does not require small cells.

Madden: Small cells - the SoC and the stack

Competition for SoCs in small cells is heating up. We've now finished the phase where a dozen companies contended for the small cell market. Some companies have been acquired, including Picochip, Design Art Networks, and Percello. Mindspeed will join this list soon, as a strategic buyer is currently looking to acquire their wireless business. Others have simply dropped out of sight. The remaining players fall into two categories.

Madden: Indoor small cells - a new opportunity for competition

Sometimes it's funny to watch the relationships between a network equipment vendor and their customer. In most areas of business, the customer is king. Not in mobile infrastructure. In our business, the OEM tells their customer what to do ... and the mobile operator has no choice. With 2G, 3G, and 4G in multiple bands, networks have become so complex that 3GPP standards are not enough.