MulteFire Makes Waves at MWC

By Outi Niemi, Secretary for the MulteFire Alliance, Director Operations Management, Digital Automation, Nokia

I recently returned from a great week in Barcelona where Mobile World Congress was bigger than ever. While it’s been a few years since the last time I attended MWC, this was the MulteFire Alliance’s third year since our formal launch event in 2016. We’ve come a long way since then with the delivery of the Release 1.0 specification in 2017 – and now at our 2018 event – I’m pleased to share that we highlighted the first two MulteFire™ products announced by our members!

MulteFire Open Day at #MWC18

During our MulteFire Open Day held at MWC, MulteFire Alliance Board Chair and GM, Digital Automation at Nokia Stephan Litjens highlighted the new products from Nokia and Baicells in his keynote presentation – which you can watch here. It’s exciting to see these first announced products as the first step in building an interoperable ecosystem of devices.

MulteFire Alliance Board Member, Said Tatesh with Huawei, shared exciting details on the progress of Huawei’s eLTE solution that supports the MulteFire specification. He shared commercial use cases of eLTE being deployed in diverse vertical industries such as a detailed analysis of eLTE deployed in the Yangshan Port of Shanghai. You can watch Said here or download the presentation here.

Our MWC event also featured a panel discussion that focused on how MulteFire will be leveraged by Industrial IoT and Enterprise applications and included panelists from board members Boingo and Nokia, one of our newest members m3connect, and our industry liaison partner – the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). I encourage you to check out the full panel discussion here for insight into how MulteFire changes the game. You can also read more on Alliance board member Derek Peterson’s thoughts on the vast opportunities for MulteFire in the enterprise space in his blog post, where he highlighted how MulteFire can deliver smart, dense networks for a seamless customer experience. In addition, the Alliance is continuing to release interesting white papers such as the most recent paper “The Business Case for MulteFire technology” by Wireless 20/20. You can find them all here.

One application that will be able to leverage MulteFire technology is Nokia Saving Lives – a corporate non-profit initiative that provides innovative communications technology and technical expert assistance to emergency response teams. I was at MWC to highlight the work that Nokia is doing in this space, and I will be excited to see these come together in the future. Please also check out the cool MulteFire use cases that my colleague Stephane Daeuble demonstrated at MWC in this video.

MulteFire Technology on Display at MWC

Once again, MulteFire Alliance member companies demonstrated MulteFire technology in action in the Alliance booth in Hall 7. Athonet highlighted its vEPC and IMS for MulteFire. Huawei featured its eLTE deployments of MulteFire technology in vertical industries. Nokia showcased the first small cell product built to the MulteFire specification as well as demonstrated MulteFire IoT in 1.9 GHz unlicensed bands and future MulteFire support for network slicing. Sanjole, a test equipment participant member of the Alliance, showed full PHY and upper layer analysis for testing MulteFire.

Beyond MWC – Technical Specification Group Makes Progress

With the focus at MWC on IoT and enterprise, the Alliance is hard at work on our next specification – Release 1.1 – which will add further optimizations for industrial IoT applications. Our Technical Specification Group met just ahead of MWC in beautiful Aalborg, Denmark where we were hosted by member company RTX. I’d like to give a big thanks to RTX for their hospitality and support in enabling our working groups to make great progress toward hitting our targeted spec finalization date in June. We’ll next meet up in Colorado in April where CableLabs will be hosting our Spring meeting to continue progress. MulteFire will continue to make waves in 2018!

MulteFire Alliance Adds Five New Members

By Mazen Chmaytelli, President of the MulteFire Alliance

The New Year is off to a great start for the MulteFire Alliance. Along with MulteFire™ technology advances, recent webinars, new white papers and upcoming events – including Mobile World Congress 2018 – the Alliance continues to reach key milestones including our recent achievement of exceeding more than 40 members since our public launch two years ago.

On behalf of the Alliance, I’d like to welcome our newest members – 7layers, KATHREIN-Werke KG, Klas Telecom, m3connect Gmbh, and Quanta Computer. These member companies bring additional expertise to our organization, including test & certification services, antenna design, networking, hardware, and more.

As president of the Alliance, I’m charged with conducting communication and outreach to foster the organization. Throughout 2017 I saw my frequent flyer miles increase as I met with companies around the globe that have an interest in MulteFire. I welcome these opportunities as new members bring a fresh perspective along with new technology applications and new marketplace opportunities that can positively impact the industry and further our goal of broadening the LTE ecosystem to new players. The journey of the Alliance so far has been exciting and as we achieve this new membership milestone I am looking forward to what we will be able to accomplish throughout this coming year as we see first announcements of MulteFire products and trial deployments.

I’ll be at Mobile World Congress 2018 this year and look forward to meeting with all companies that are interested in learning more about Alliance membership or the MulteFire ecosystem. I encourage you to schedule a meeting, join us at our MulteFire Open Day at MWC, or visit us in Hall 7, Stand 7F81 to see MulteFire technology demonstrations. I look forward to seeing you in Barcelona!

Evolution in Enterprise Connectivity: New Research Spotlights Vast Opportunities for MulteFire

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.