Fresh off of the Big Celebration in the Big Apple to mark the completion of the First Phase of Transit Wireless’ multi-year plan to deliver cellular and Wi-Fi wireless communications in 277 underground stations within the New York City Subway, Team SOLiD roared into Las Vegas for the 6th Annual DAS & – now – Small Cells Congress where we talked shop at our solution showcase booth, presented with some of the industry’s leading thinkers on topics including small cell backhaul and emerging wireless communications strategies at stadiums, and socialized with customers, partners and peers.
What’s in a Name?
Oy! As an industry, aren’t we still struggling with how to define a Small Cell? And now we’ve got to try and get our arms around HetNet?
Actually, we’ve been citing the trend of convergence for some time now and so it’s only natural that these organizations broaden their scope.
Nonetheless, the industry is engaging in compelling discourse ranging from venerable editors such as Light Reading‘s Dan Jones who predicts 2013 to be the year of the small cell to industry experts such as iBwave’s Mario Bouchard who views small cells still as an industry buzzword.
To this debate, we say, “Bravo!” It’s good for the industry.
We had the privilege to present and moderate two amazing and insightful panels.
SK Telecom, Ericsson, Small Cells Forum and iGR shared emerging trends during the “Fronthaul: The New Paradigm for Enabling the HetNet” panel.
Their consensus echoes what Jennifer Pigg at Yankee Group describes as a “Machiavellian” approach to backhaul. Specifically, while operators care deeply about RAN, if backhaul could be done with bailing wire and chewing gum, they’d do it.
Bottom line, our panel characterized backhaul as the elephant in the room for which there will never be too much capacity.
Not to be outdone, our second panel assembled each stakeholder in a stadium wireless deployment including the wireless operator (AT&T), venue owner (Minnesota Twins), neutral host (InSite Wireless), integrator (CSI, now Goodman Networks) and OEM (SOLiD) to explore “Bringing the Home Game Day Experience to the Stadium.” We’ve blogged in the past that stadiums represent a unique challenge to wireless networks and it’s only getting more difficult to address.
The challenge? Overcoming spectrum constraints and building an economic model to enable the ultimate fan experience. And provide public-safety coverage, too.
The solution – according to the panel – is a wireless “gumbo” that consists of RAN, DAS and Wi-Fi; an infrastructure “roux” of cabling that scales for future network and antennae optimization and emerging technologies; and a benefits “garnish” that delivers analytics, loyalty programs and quality of experience.
(Okay, so we’ve been busted… we’re still reminiscing over the gumbo at Emeril’s Delmonico Steakhouse!)
The panel suggests that professional sports leagues will over time set the wireless technology roadmap for the game day experience.
Our friends at iBwave inverted the proceedings this year scheduled their annual User Group and Cocktail Party to fall on the eve of the conference. So perhaps that explains the quiet start to the first morning?
Mario, Nathalie and Co. throw a great party! Check out their blog and photos.
And on Tuesday, SOLiD enjoyed the good company of our carrier, partner and industry friends at Koi. Sorry competitors (smiles).
So, until next year. Although we strongly suspect we’ll see some familiar faces once again in Las Vegas at CTIA in two weeks!
Tell us what you heard at DAS & Small Cells Congress (or DAS in Action) that you found to be truly interesting in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!