By Ashish Dayama, Nokia

It goes everywhere we go – whether we’re heading to the gym, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or grabbing a latte at the local café. Our phone is always within reach and ready when we need it, that is, unless we enter an unmarked network “black-hole.” These unpredictable dead zones can drop calls and time out connections without warning. While elevators and basements are notorious dead spots, others can materialize when too many devices are trying to battle for bandwidth.

Unfortunately, our mobile device dependency has made business owners’ jobs even more difficult now that they need to ensure customers can still catch the latest score or update their Facebook feeds once they walk into their store. Failure to do so could result in customer frustration, sub-par Yelp reviews and even public shaming. Okay, the last one may be a bit extreme and we don’t expect business owners to perform a Game of Thrones’ style walk of atonement for having a dicey Wi-Fi network or spotty network coverage.

But what if there was an easy way for business owners to avoid the potential of any public shaming and provide a seamless network connection for little-to-no cost? With MulteFire technology there can be. MulteFire opens the doors for small and medium-sized businesses to establish themselves as a neutral host hotspot, offering LTE-like network performance for any device. By enabling neutral host solutions with MulteFire, private business owners can offer better connections and speeds that otherwise may have been strained by high user traffic in a restrictive environment.

So how does a small business enable itself a neutral host?

It’s actually quite simple and it all falls within the unlicensed spectrum bands and where an LTE anchor is not required.

MulteFire’s neutral host environment offers flexible business models such as, a standalone solution. In this scenario, no carrier subscription or SIM card has to be installed on a device in order for it to connect to the network, thereby offering seamless mobility within the network.

It can also be configured to communicate with existing network carriers using tight integration where a SIM card is already enabled on a device. In the latter situation, someone who is connected to the carrier LTE network will continue to enjoy the LTE-like performance, as well as the network security, upon entering a store with MulteFire technology installed in a neutral host setting. When simultaneous access is available, the transition from the mobile operator network in the licensed spectrum to the private, neutral host environment in the unlicensed spectrum is seamless and without connectivity hiccups. Furthermore, standardized interfaces for multi-vendor deployments are also possible.

This arrangement can also benefit mobile operators or service providers if they choose to collaborate with business owners to include their network in the neutral host environment. For instance, mobile operators can charge the business owners a small fee for including their network, reaping the benefit of authentication and seamless connectivity with their network. On the flip side, in larger environments such as stadiums, the network operator may need to pay the venue owner if they want patrons to still use their network within the venue. Any given arrangement between the private business owner and the mobile operator comes down to the negotiations at hand.

While this idea of a neutral host solution may seem forward-thinking, it’s already being tested by a few of the MulteFire Alliance’s member companies. For instance, Nokia showed off a neutral host demo at Mobile World Congress Barcelona.

MulteFire’s neutral host solution opens the doors to many possibilities for enterprises, mobile operators, cable operators, ISPs, building owners, venue owners and stadium owners. Each of these stakeholders can benefit from MulteFire’s customizable, end-to-end network architecture by expanding LTE-like performance within the confines of their business.

ashish-dayamaAshish Dayama is the Vice chair for MulteFire Alliance Marketing Working Group and Head of MulteFire and TD-LTE marketing for Nokia Network’s mobile broadband portfolio.

Mr. Dayama is responsible for global MulteFire and TD-LTE product marketing, strategy, and content development. Mr. Dayama is Nokia Marketing point of contact for CBRS Alliance and The Wireless Innovation Forum’s Spectrum Sharing Committee.

Mr. Dayama has been a solution architect, system integrator and business developer for various mobile networks. He has filed patents, published papers, and is a speaker on various forums such as IEEE, BBWF, GTI.

Prior to joining Nokia, Mr. Dayama held several management positions at Motorola, and Alcatel-Lucent. He holds an MBA from University of Chicago, MS in Computer Science from Western Illinois University and a Bachelor’s in Electrical from Karnataka University.