Modern “cityzens” expect mobile coverage and capacity wherever they go. Providing infrastructure for good mobile-data coverage and capacity is as important as public transportation, electricity, water and sewage. The question I want to address in this post is: how do operators leverage the capabilities of small cells to power-up performance in public spaces?
“Cityzens” spend more time travelling to and from work than their rural peers. It’s of great interest to them to turn this time into valuable professional or private time. This is an opportunity to catch up on their mailboxes and is prime time for social media interactions. This is driving demand for an increase in network capacity in the places where we spend time outside of home and work, for example at bus, train and subway stops and along major road and rail routes.
“Cityzens” who spend a significant amount of time in high-rise offices, multi-dwelling homes or hotel buildings are ofter above the normal mobile/cellular coverage levels. These users still expect that their mobile voice, data and video services will work just as well in these locations as on the ground level. To secure coverage in these places, special indoor solutions are needed to bring a vertical coverage dimension into play.
In addition to using time efficiently, “cityzens” are also keen to have coverage and capacity in their favorite relaxation spots. They want to watch a video clip or parts of a drama series or read an e-book in their favorite outdoor plaza; enjoy a relaxing moment under a tree or by a bench in the park together with their device or simply take a stroll through popular part of town. The scenarios are numerous and well known to all of us.
Finally, security and safety of “cityzens” – a priority for city governments – is dependent on high coverage and capacity city wide. Dedicated networks will inevitably fall short on the coverage and capacity expectations or will shoot budgets to exceptionally high levels prompting city administrators to leverage highly-dense mobile data networks.
My predictions of the future of network performance in public city spaces are:
– Mobile “app coverage” and capacity to meet citizen demand is the most import infrastructure development for cities in the near-term.
– “Cityzens” will leverage a mix of 3G/4G/Wi-Fi access to get their needs satisfied, provided there is a common business model across all three technologies.
– Coverage and capacity in public places will distinguish powered-up cities from those that are struggling to meet expectations.
– Access modernization will be done through a combination of macro-grid densification, small-cell introduction and Distributed Antenna System deployments in a variety of deployment scenarios.