For three decades, the wireless industry has been driven by the goal of connecting people. Now the focus is shifting to providing connectivity not just for people but also for machines – to create efficiencies for enterprises and for cities, and to make buildings, cars and appliances smarter.
“It’s not just your mobile phones anymore,” said Naren Muthiah, Director Market & Product Strategy at Tessco Technologies. “Your laptops, TV, home appliances, security systems will be 5G enabled. It’s really about a myriad of different devices performing a wide range of functions at unprecedented latency and speed levels all being able to be connected on the 5G network.”
For all these things to connect and function on the 5G network, hyper densification is crucial. Muthiah will discuss the ramp up to 5G and the role DAS, small cells and Wi-Fi will play in 5G networks during a panel at Connectivity Expo. Muthiah sat down with WIA to explore some of the use cases for 5G and how wireless networks are innovating to meet next-generation bandwidth and latency demands.
What does Tessco do in the wireless industry?
Tessco Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: TESS) is a value-added technology distributor, manufacturer, and solutions provider serving commercial and retail customers in the wireless infrastructure and mobile device accessories markets. The company was founded more than 30 years ago with a commitment to deliver industry-leading products, knowledge, solutions, and customer service. Tessco supplies more than 50,000 products from 350 of the industry’s top manufacturers in mobile communications, Wi-Fi, internet of Things (“IoT”), wireless backhaul, and more. Tessco is a single source for outstanding customer experience, expert knowledge, and complete end-to-end solutions for the wireless industry.
Where does Tessco see opportunities in the near future?
The industrial segment has long been a focus for Tessco and we have continued to serve the wireless communication needs of that marketplace. Today, a lot of the solutions and buildouts we support are geared toward industrial applications like oil & gas, mining and utilities. With emerging technologies and access to spectrum, the industrial market is looking to take advantage of these advancements to drive digitization forward and bring new bandwidth-hungry applications and use cases such as autonomous vehicles and drones online. The Industrial 4.0 revolution will bring about new opportunities as we serve the increasing demands of our customers in this segment.
What about the non-industrial enterprise space?
The enterprise space has been more about IT and data center solutions. Wi-Fi has been the primary wireless connectivity solution within that market, but it hasn’t solved all the problems. With the internet of things (IoT) as well as other data-hungry applications proliferating, some of the newer technologies like CBRS are front and center for the enterprise. In-building networks have only been promoted by the carriers for larger enterprise applications, like large stadiums and other large buildings, but 80% of buildings are actually smaller in footprint and rarely have any comprehensive in-building solutions. This is primarily because the carriers never really found the financial incentive to deploy them, but with CBRS and some emerging technology solutions that are more cost effective, it makes it very interesting for the enterprise to take advantage of that for a host of IoT applications as well as for providing private connectivity for tenants and people using those buildings.
Are enterprises driving the need for 5G or consumers?
The enterprise is definitely an element driving the need because you don’t need so much densification just for mobile users. The mobile user market is saturated in the United States as everyone has a mobile phone and a data plan. Everybody is accessing information on the go. The opportunity for the carriers is not in building out this massive 5G network, then charging the current mobile user an additional $10 or $20. 5G adds enhancements, but that’s not what’s going to drive its proliferation. 5G primarily enables and drives massive IoT and low-latency applications such as Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality and others used by the enterprise. That’s what creates this opportunity from a 5G perspective.
How will 5G change wireless networks?
Today you have a lot of macrosites, but when you say you are going to support IoT and low-latency mission critical applications, you have to deliver on a quick response time. You have to be able to compute things faster.
What innovations are we seeing with 5G that will make networks more efficient?
There are exciting advancements happening with 5G on the infrastructure side. There is virtualization that is going to happen where software is going to play a larger role and some of the network functions will be moved to the cloud allowing dynamic network resource allocation. Network slicing is another 5G evolution where in instants, depending on where there is demand for capacity, the network will be able to allocate resources appropriately. If there’s a certain pocket within an area that’s going to require a lot more capacity the network will be able to meet those requirements effectively and free up resources from locations where there isn’t a whole lot of capacity requirement. So, it’s going to be a lot more intelligent in terms of how it partitions networks and a lot more efficient in the way it functions.
How will 5G impact society?
It’s not your typical mobile technology anymore. It’s more of a general-purpose technology enabling a multitude of uses. Imagine all these devices being connected on a single network and being able to support a whole host of applications like smart cities and smart buildings. It makes it very exciting from the efficiencies that can be derived from this as well as some of the public-safety, emergency response and response to the environment applications that will be neat for citizens. It will impact society in many ways, perhaps in a fashion similar to the way the cellphone has changed our lives. I think it will change how we live, how we communicate and how we do things. I’m excited that the industry is coming together and doing this, and we are excited to play a role in it.
Don’t miss Muthiah’s panel “Ramping up for 5G and Hyper-Densification with DAS, Small Cells and Wi-Fi” on Wednesday, May 22 at 2 p.m. The panel is part of the 5G Infrastructure: Fiber, Small Cells & Fixed Wireless education track, which features panels addressing innovative infrastructure solutions, massive MIMO and innovative RAN solutions, millimeter-wave networks and fiber.
Charles Kriete, Senior Vice President at Tessco, will participate on a keynote panel Tuesday at 10:40 on the topic of next-generation technology and its impact on business. Visit Tessco on the exhibit floor in booths G and 623.
Visit www.connectivityexpo.com for the full list of speakers, keynotes, exhibitors and sessions.
Naren Muthiah is the Director of Market and Product Strategy at Tessco Technologies, a value-added distributor headquartered in Hunt Valley, MD. In this role, he is responsible for building the market intelligence practice and shaping Product and Market strategy decisions for the organization. Naren has 10 plus years of collective professional experience in Business Strategy, Product Management and Systems Engineering. Naren brings a unique combination of business strategy experience and a strong technical background and consistently demonstrated building value by solving complex business problems through analytical and logical approach.
His experience varies across high-tech industries such as semiconductors, defense and wireless communication. He holds an MSEE degree from Syracuse University and an MBA in Finance and Competitive Strategy from University of Rochester.
Also published on Medium.