connectivity matters
Wireless Spectrum June 15, 2012  |  Written by

Wireless Spectrum – Bandwidth is an Infrastructure Play First

There’s been renewed discussion lately surrounding the wireless spectrum shortage, and whether it’s truly a shortage or a matter of mis-allocation. The calls for government to free up more radio spectrum for wireless communications are resonating again, while a growing number of consumers are complaining about lack of service. Factor in the explosive growth of bandwidth-intensive mobile data, the growing popularity of mobile apps, and escalating sales of smart phones, and the urgency of the situation becomes clear.

So…is spectrum the real issue? Well, sure, it’s well known that spectrum is finite, and much of it remains controlled by the government and a few entities. And, yes, there remain significant allocation issues that will take a great deal of time and political posturing to resolve. Ultimately, lack of spectrum coupled with the current regulatory environment impedes wireless operators’ ability – and willingness – to acquire new spectrum. However, fixating on spectrum alone will not address the long-term issues facing the industry.

Even if there was ample spectrum to go around, it’s difficult and expensive to add bandwidth to the current antiquated wireless infrastructure. The tear-down/swap-out of radios to accommodate added bandwidth would result in intolerable downtime and associated costs. Capacity could still be added without additional spectrum, simply by adding radios and antennas. But again, this is a short-term fix, and an expensive one at that.

As demand for spectrum accelerates at rates beyond regulatory and physical boundaries, wireless operators must future-proof their networks to meet capacity requirements and accommodate future available spectrum. This is an issue that Rajant foresaw and began addressing long ago with multi-frequency, multi-radio transceivers. We’ve now taken this concept one step further with a modular architecture that will allow for the ready expansion of network capacity. It’s much like snapping in additional radio units (multi-frequency transceivers) into an existing backbone. No tear-down required, and costly downtime avoided. It’s an idea that we’re excited to share with the industry, and we’ll introduce the first products soon.

If demand for wireless broadband continues as predicted, it will force legislators to make sweeping decisions regarding allocation. Meanwhile, it is up to wireless providers to begin deploying the infrastructure that will make the most efficient use of whatever bandwidth is available – both now and in the future.

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