No doubt about it—4G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) are the most highly anticipated developments in the global telecom marketplace. LTE is a new 4G mobile broadband standard pegged to replace 3G. But the question on the minds of many is: Does it deliver? Do you need to upgrade an existing indoor Distributed Antenna System (DAS)? What about when your goal is to power core applications such as remote monitoring and video surveillance?
So far, adoption has been solid. The 4G technology delivers a wider range of broadband services wirelessly using radio platforms. In late 2010, carriers including Verizon, Vodafone and AT&T launched LTE services in more than 30 markets. And a report from Infonetics Research estimates the total LTE infrastructure market will top $5 billion by 2013. The firm also predicts LTE subscribers might exceed 72 million by 2013.
To 4G or not to 4G
When you take out all the hype, is 4G really that much different than 3G technology? The answer is a resounding "Yes!" There are several significant advantages that the technology offers:
Speed: In terms of speed, it's really no contest. 4G is 50 times faster than 3G while the device is in motion and 512 times faster while stationary.
Reliability: 4G can handle larger data packets in the same amount of time but with lower bit-rate errors.
Higher quality: 4G makes it possible to experience more reliable multimedia and HD.
Mobile reliability: With 4G, hotspot searching is no longer an issue since the technology delivers a much smoother connection.
Smartphones: 4G enables smartphones to be – well – smarter. Upgrades in speed, reliability and throughput provide the key to the smart phone revolution.
For security professionals, accessing IP video on your cell phone is now a reality when an indoor DAS supports 4G. With enhanced capacity and compression technology, wireless access to surveillance systems is now more realistic than ever. With such advancements in reliability and speed, end-users are now demanding service providers have effective, reliable 4G strategies in place. And carriers are responding. And with the rise of the smartphone and other smart devices, reliability of data transmission on the network becomes an important component in whether a user will choose technology provider A, B or C.
Making the connection: in-building wireless
It should come as no surprise that reliable wireless service is now critical for businesses worldwide—enabling 24/7 access to voice and data regardless of location. This anytime access is essential, especially when it powers the monitoring and surveillance of core security systems via wireless signals. According to industry analyst firm ABI Research, carriers are increasingly turning their focus to availability and reliability of high-speed video and voice communications in typically low coverage areas, such as in and around buildings. The firm even estimates the in-building wireless market will see a 20 percent compound annual growth rate this year.
Distributed Antennas Systems make 4G a reality indoors. By powering 4G and LTE-based technologies within enclosed spaces, users can make better use of core applications like remote video. The in-building infrastructure can be installed in nearly every scenario, including sports arenas, hospitals, campus environments, airports, tunnels, high-rise buildings and standard offices.
Be careful when selecting an in-building vendor. Go with one that offers a range of active and passive indoor wireless products. A key consideration is selecting a vendor that can handle 3G/4G, wireless LAN, public safety and security, enterprise solutions, fixed mobile convergence, emergency notification and building automation. You'll also need to choose a vendor with in-depth understanding of Radio Frequency (RF) and repeating signal rules, as well as one that holds direct relationships with all major carriers. On the product side, look for a vendor that delivers the entire in-building wireless infrastructure, including a full line of bi-directional amplifiers, repeaters, in-line boosters and system components to truly extend wireless coverage.