Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Mobile IoT, Wearables

Mobile IoT: Article

We Want It Now – Access to Mobile Apps That Is

How one technology may help to keep costs down while keeping up with the demand and strain on our existing networks

At Starbucks, Panera, and McDonald's restaurants everywhere, personal hubspots can be purchased to fuel our need to access applications on our mobile devices. Today, we automatically assume that we are able to access applications and the Internet if we have a connection but, with the rapid adoption of smart phones and tablets, will the network be able to handle it? Or will our applications just time out, stall, or take forever to run? Operators are still trying to figure out how to meet the anticipated demand.

One solution to the evolving wireless broadband capacity crunch is a heterogeneous access network composed of macro cells, plus a range of small cell solutions: microcells and picocells, carrier WiFi, and femtocells to add capacity and performance. Wireless operators are starting to implement small cell access solutions; however, adoption has been slowed down due to the lack of cost-effective backhaul solutions.

Currently, mobile backhaul solutions such as microwave and fiber utilize a point-to-point (PTP) architecture where base stations have full utilization of dedicated backhaul bandwidth. PTP is provisioned based on peak volume so during off-peak times the excess spectrum is idle. Point-to-Multipoint (PMP) is the ability to backhaul several base stations through a single backhaul hub by creating multiple links that share the hub bandwidth. PMP backhaul is intelligent, based on sharing resources and is ideal technically and economically for small cell backhaul.

Technically, traffic patterns on small cell base stations are very different than macro cell base stations. Compact, below-roofline base stations such as micro or pico cells use low power and are mounted at low height to avoid the interference of the high cellular towers/macro towers. This means that their coverage area is small. Small coverage area means less interference to adjacent cells and that's why compact base stations provide up to double the capacity of macro base stations. Macro cells have a low peak to average ratio whereas small cells have a high peak to average traffic ratio: on average, there are fewer users served by small cells, but the performance is better (i.e., better download and upload speeds). When a small cells peak, it does so for a very short period of time.

Furthermore, traffic patterns for data services are not as predictable as those of voice networks. For example, voice networks have busy hours that typically happen at known times during the day where subscribers drive up the traffic on several base stations at the same time. This is different in data networks where traffic patterns are not predictable: data consumption can happen at any time and is different between base stations.

Based on the described traffic patterns, it would be extremely inefficient to dedicate bandwidth to each compact base station independently, especially if the dedicated bandwidth is designed to match the peak traffic performance which can only be achieved for very brief moment with small cell architectures. Given that peak traffic on any base station can only occur when network utilization is low - that is when adjacent base stations are not very busy - it becomes advantageous to use PMP backhaul.

In this case, a number of base stations share the bandwidth, which is fine given that they don't peak at the same time and, if they do, only for very brief period of time where traffic on adjacent base stations is low. PMP configuration is made more efficient by using "dynamic bandwidth allocation," which shifts resources from a base station with low traffic requirements to one with high traffic demand. This enables optimization of bandwidth to serve the base station with highest traffic requirements at any particular moment in time.

Economically, PMP backhaul with dynamic bandwidth allocation makes sense. Backhaul spectrum is conserved, which reduces costly spectrum costs. Less hardware is required at the hub site with a single hub module serving multiple remote base stations. And the solution is intelligent, requiring very little human intervention. This translates into significantly lower capex and opex. For example, backhauling four compact base stations in PMP configuration results in 38% less total cost than an equivalent PTP configuration.

Advances in PMP backhaul technology can now help operators eliminate urban hotspots by helping them quickly double their capacity, at 50% of the total cost of ownership of fiber PTP solutions. Subscribers will be able to use their applications when they want to without experiencing delays. This will keep mobile users happy and operators will be able to avoid subscriber churn.

More Stories By Frank Rayal

Frank Rayal is VP of Product Management at BLinQ networks. He brings over 17 years of experience in the wireless industry with a thorough knowledge and experience in access and backhaul technologies. He has defined a line of innovative compact base stations and established strategic alliances at Redline Communications where he led product management for 4G wireless access networks. At Ericsson, Frank worked extensively with mobile network operators to deploy three networks in the Americas, after which he defined sales and market entry strategies at Metawave Communications for a GSM smart antenna system. Frank holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, and a MASc in Electrical Engineering and an MBA from the University of Toronto, Canada.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...