Most Mobile Traffic Happens In-Building, and Operators Need to Beef Up Their Support

Next Generation Communications Blog

Most Mobile Traffic Happens In-Building, and Operators Need to Beef Up Their Support

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Most mobile traffic is consumed indoors, and operators need to get a better grip on serving this market since it is a huge one.

Roughly 80 percent of mobile traffic is now consumed in-building, according to a recent Gartner study, whether mobile bandwidth is consumed in a public space, a shopping mall, or at the office. The total market for in-building services is estimated to be $4.3 billion currently, according to ABI research, and it is expected to grow to $8.5 billion by 2019.

Business leaders recognize the need, too; 72 percent of businesses are interested in enterprise cells that can boost performance on their premises. An Alcatel-Lucent infographic tells the tale.


Source: Alcatel-Lucent (for larger view)

That’s a big opportunity.

Yet mobile operators have several challenges they must face when it comes to in-building wireless.

“Mobile operators have a number of challenges really,” noted Mat Leaver, head of Alcatel-Lucent’s in-building small-cells solutions group, in a recent video. “There is no one size fits all. There’s no standard building; they come in different sizes, they are built with different materials that affect the RF; and they can’t even get their mobile signal in there.”

Alcatel-Lucent has been working on a number of solutions to serve the needs of in-building small cells and enterprise cells.

“We have three real solutions we’re focusing on,” noted Leaver. “We have a distributed antenna system we’ve been working with to really revolutionize DAS and make it more friendly in terms of CAPEX and how much space it takes up in a building. From that, we have DRS [distributed radio systems systems] where we use our metro radio unit and that’s really good for tackling stadiums and high-capacity venues.”

Then, of course, Alcatel-Lucent also has an indoor small-cell solution that offers both 3G and WiFi, enabling providers to offer mobile broadband even in highly congested areas and where buildings limit radio signal coverage.

Such end-to-end services can essentially eliminate in-building challenges such as indoor clutter, network design, RF interference, cell optimization and installation. And if data from Gartner and others is to be believed, this is an urgent need.


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