Jonathan Adelstein in his ITEXPO opening keynote address today talked about the importance of densification of networks, exponential expansion of backhaul, and the need for more spectrum to support 5G and the future of wireless connectivity. He is a former FCC (News - Alert) commissioner and current President and CEO of the Wireless Infrastructure Association.
WIA aims to promote the massive expansion of infrastructure so connectivity needs are met. It’s doing that by educating the various stakeholders in this, and by interacting with government entities to explain the needs and how they can create an environment that’s supportive of new infrastructure builds.
As Adelstein noted, 5G promises zero latency and extremely high throughput everywhere, even at the edge. Such applications as autonomous driving will require that lack of latency and no loss, he added.
Of course, 5G is a few years out. In the meantime we need to prepare for the paradigm shift that will require. That will entail new thinking about infrastructure design, says Adelstein. Part of that change is simply the fact that there will be a whole lot more infrastructure required: more cell towers, more antennas on polls and elsewhere, more street furniture, etc.
“We need so much more wireless infrastructure,” said Adelstein. “It is really the challenge of our age.”
In terms of densification of networks, he said, we need to build coverage throughout cities and rural areas. Expanding capacity and coverage in heavily populated areas also is key.
Wireless congestion happens when too many people try to use the same cell site at once, he noted. But we can address that with the addition of small cells to add more capacity in densely populated or high traffic areas.
The uptake of small cells to date has been somewhat limited, and far smaller than initial forecasts estimated, Adelstein noted. That’s been largely due to the cost, he said. But the wireless industry is working to innovate on that front, he added.
Of course, more cells and other network infrastructure means more concerns for 'siting' (site approvals). So the WIA has been working with various levels of government to help simplify the site approval process, he added.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi