By Derek Peterson, Board Member, MulteFire Alliance and CTO, Boingo Wireless
When deploying an entirely new wireless network in the enterprise, there are many challenges to overcome to ensure each connected device has seamless, reliable coverage throughout the entire environment. During a recent webinar—LTE in Unlicensed Spectrum: Driving Innovation in the Enterprise—I joined Harbor Research’s director of development Alex Glaser to discuss this vertical and how the wireless industry is working to enhance its coverage and capacity. We kicked off the conversation by asking attendees about the top challenges they face with enterprise networks. Their answer? Cost, robust connectivity and coverage were flagged as the biggest hurdles.
Addressing Enterprise Network Challenges
I was not surprised by this response. At Boingo, we deliver both cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity to large venues around the world and know firsthand that the only way to ensure a seamless customer experience is by overcoming challenges like coverage and cost with smart, dense networks that can provide monetization opportunities for our partners. We also have to be on top of skyrocketing mobile data trends and build our networks accordingly.
Most of us know data is climbing at an incredibly fast rate. But how does that impact the enterprise? For starters, network traffic increases will mean more access points, which can increase costs. Added pressure on enterprise Wi-Fi and carrier networks can also mean compromising quality of service in data-intensive, hyper-dense environments. And remember, having traditional LTE networks deployed is not always the answer as in some cases, it might not make financial sense for the venue.
This is why MulteFire™ – a new wireless technology – makes so much sense. MulteFire can be deployed as a neutral host network and allow us to take advantage of common spectrum, while delivering a cost-effective way to expand LTE networks ubiquitously. It also provides new opportunities to separate private services, such as a near-band IoT network that is reserved for specific use cases.
New research from Harbor Research bears this out. Harbor Research details in a new white paper its prediction that the total addressable revenue for enterprise markets deploying MulteFire will reach $5.7B in 2025, in addition to the $118.5B opportunity in the industrial and commercial IoT markets. During the webinar, Alex also shared how MulteFire will act as a stepping stone to 5G, showing the benefits of wireless networking in new ways that haven’t all been imagined. MulteFire already meets some of the current needs today that 5G seeks to address.
At the beginning of the webinar, only 58% of attendees said that they were familiar with Private and Neutral Host LTE and/or MulteFire, but we hope to bring that number up to 100% as we continue to educate audiences on how MulteFire changes the wireless networking paradigm. I shared my thoughts on the critical importance of this convergence of licensed and unlicensed spectrum just a year ago ahead of MWC in my convergence manifesto. Since then, we’ve seen traction for MulteFire grow as the MulteFire Alliance membership doubled and Nokia launched the industry’s first small cell based on the MulteFire Release 1.0 specification.
I’m excited to continue the education and momentum for MulteFire at MWC 2018 where I will be participating on a panel during the MulteFire Open Day – you can find more details on the Alliance’s activities at MWC here. I invite you to join me and other industry leaders in Barcelona as we help move MulteFire from vision to reality.