IoT Needs Small Cells to Prosper and Proliferate

The Internet of Things (IoT) will change almost every aspect of our daily lives — at home, at work, at school. But before our lives change, our mobile networks need to change.

The massive growth in the number of connected devices and machines will strain the capabilities of currently deployed wireless infrastructure.

Nokia, one of WIA’s members, expects tens of billions of new devices and machines to come online in the next few years. Supporting these devices will require significant investment from both the public and private sector in new infrastructure.

We need a massive advance in wireless communications technology and densification of infrastructure deployment.

5G promises near zero latency in the network and extremely high throughput everywhere including at the edge of cells as consumers move. While many of the emerging IoT use cases can be accommodated on current 4G networks and with the natural evolution of these networks, others like autonomous driving will place demands on networks such as the need for no latency (or delay) and no loss of data rates even during congested periods.

In short, the emergence of the concept of a totally connected world where access to data and applications anywhere, anytime is a paradigm shift that will require new thinking about infrastructure design, deployment, and management.

Success for every great application and plan people in this room are discussing at this conference depends on that network meeting your needs.  And that success rides on three key inputs for wireless networks: 1) Densification of the networks, with more antennas closer to end users. 2), The exponential expansion of backhaul to accommodate the increased use and flow of data. And 3) More spectrum that can be used cleanly for IoT applications.

That means all of the wonderful advantages delivered by the Internet of Things cannot happen without the wireless infrastructure that connects devices and machines to the Internet and to each other.

We need more cell towers and poles, the antennas of all sizes that attach to structures of all sizes, and the all-important fiber networks that connect all of these wireless technologies. The data being transmitted from car to traffic light or from pedestrian to car doesn’t work if the mobile networks aren’t in place. We need wireless infrastructure so that the massive amounts of data can seamlessly move from point to point.

IoT offers tremendous opportunities for new business and new technologies. But they will only be achieved if we position our communities and our businesses to be ready.