This year has brought a few highlighted topics for wireless communications that took center stage this year. Here are some of the top highlights for 2015:
TETRA – Will TETRA be replaced by LTE?
TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio), which has long been the standard communications platform for public safety, transportation, emergency response teams, police and oil & gas, among other sectors, may no longer be the obvious choice for a communications platform. TETRA is an official standard set up by the European Telecommunication and Standardization Institute (ETSI). With the UK seeking to replace TETRA with LTE as early as 2016, other European countries may follow suit, which will ultimately affect US P25 communications platforms. Contracts for UK TETRA based, national communications systems are scheduled to expire from 2016-2020 and UK officials are currently seeking for alternatives. This was the talk in this year's Critical Communications World, which took place in Barcelona in May. Organizations such as SAN, a consortium led by Airbus, Indra, Mobilicom and other European companies offers a unique and advanced hybrid approach of standard LTE and Ad-Hoc combined with 4G MESH networks for public safety scenarios. SAN project aims at developing a 4G LTE broadband mobile wireless communication system, providing a wide range of ad-hoc and relaying/mesh routing capabilities.
5G Technology –
The Path, Overview and Challenges Though the term 5G technology took center stage in the last year, the path leading towards the development of 5G technology can be seen through numerous industry terms that stemmed in the last few years, planting the seeds for future technology revolution. Today, there are more challenges for implementing 5G technology in a globally realistic manner than actual ability. These challenges include:
1. Standardization - Though there is great hype for 5G, there is still no standardization set for the technology. There are multiple groups that are working on setting a global standard which will consist of issues such as: interoperability, compatibility with current technologies and the assurance of a future-proof technology.
2. Infrastructure - 5G will run on the higher frequency range rather the 4G frequencies we have right now. This will shorten the communication distance range which ultimately results in poor connectivity.
3. N-LOS – Non Line of site – N-LOS refers to environment with communication obstacles such has urban environments, forests, densely populated environments that pose great challenges for communications infrastructures. Today, the only technology that can overcome these obstacles is MESH technology, and even here not all MESH solutions are alike. The competition to define 5G technology is at its peak.The Japanese government said they’d be ready to demonstrate 5G in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics. South Korea responded that they would show trials in 2018 if not by late 2017. Maybe so, however we've seen how technology has revolutionized the way we communicate on a daily basis in the last few years and what great technology this entails. Can we also predict the new technology challenges that will borne by then and the new demands they will entail? Will 5G include answers to these new posed challenges? That is the question.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is yet another industry term that bundles the great need for a new 5G technology development. The term refers to the network of physical objects or "things" such as BYODs embedded with electronics, software, sensors and connectivity that exchange data with connected devices. Each device is uniquely identifiable through its embedded computing system but is able to interoperate within the existing Internet infrastructure. According to Gartner Inc., there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. The International Data Cooperation predicts that smart city sensors, transportation, industrial automation systems and the internet of things account for 30.1 billion connected devices worldwide. Software Defined Networking (SDN) The staggering growth in mobile devices, BYODs, cloud services, server virtualization and big data centers combined with the huge amounts of traffic generated by companies such as Facebook, Inc. (FB) , Google (GOOG) and Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) , calls for reexamination of network architectures. The above, naturally, also creates great demand for mobility and bandwidth. Meeting such demands with traditional network architectures is close to impossible and telecommunications companies find themselves struggling to meet such demands with ill-suited network architectures that were not designed for todays' dynamic pace and lifestyle. Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP) is a suggested technology to overcome the challenge of signal loss when meeting up with such great demands in urban environment.
Software Defined Radio
In the last few years, an emerging architecture has surfaced – Software Defined Networking (SDN). The architecture is dynamic and allows for IT personnel to quickly respond and alter the architecture on a need basis. SDN also enables to shape traffic from a single centralized console, bypassing the need to configure multiple switches, routers and devices. The SDN decouples the system that makes decisions regarding where traffic is sent (the control plane) from the underlying systems that forward traffic to selected destinations (the data plane).
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