Debate about licensed and unlicensed spectrum has been raging as long as I can remember--and it continues as the FCC faces questions about how to arrange the band plan for 600 MHz in a manner that allows the fastest and broadest possible use of spectrum.
I'm excited to introduce the newest member of the Fierce editorial team, Monica Alleven. Monica is the editor of FierceWireless:Tech and will be writing about all the latest developments in wireless technology--from LTE Advanced to 5G to Wi-Fi and more.
Suggestions that 5G--the next generation of wireless networks--will include a basket of technologies or a network of networks highlight the looming risk of 5G fragmentation. I sometimes wonder if 5G might end up with the dreaded silos of vertical solutions that share little or no commonality.
One of the more intriguing demos during CTIA's Super Mobility Week event in early September was at the Ericsson booth, where the vendor installed a row of stadium seating that let folks relax for a bit and watch multiple screens full of multicast sports content. The demo highlighted the types of offerings that are possible with not just LTE Multicast--a technology that is on lots of operators' minds--but Wi-Fi Multicast as well.
Time is speeding up in the wireless industry. Though advanced markets have rolled out significant LTE and LTE Advanced footprints, many markets worldwide are just now dipping their toes into the LTE pool. Nonetheless, the collective industry already has 5G on its mind, with most pundits calling for requirements and specs to be laid out in the next couple of years in time for commercial rollouts in little more than five years.
Cable operators have dallied in wireless numerous times over the years, but nothing has really stuck. Their Pivot and SpectrumCo initiatives came and went, and it seemed the MSOs might never carve out a significant role in wireless communications. But their wireless prospects changed for the better as soon as they started dabbling in unlicensed, rather than licensed, spectrum and nomadic, rather than highly mobile, services.
A funny thing happened on the way to opening up 500 MHz for fixed and mobile wireless broadband. Reality reared its head, revealing just how challenging it can be to free up spectrum that is already being used for other purposes and hand it over to the wireless industry.
The recent report that Apple's late cofounder Steve Jobs hoped to encourage wireless router makers to include a "guest network" option so Wi-Fi's footprint could be spread exponentially is helping focus more attention on Hotspot 2.0, which enables seamless roaming between Wi-Fi networks and also enables seamless data roaming between Wi-Fi and cellular networks. But recent comments from industry executives indicate Hotspot 2.0 has yet to gain widespread adoption, though its impact could be expansive in the future.