4G wireless services will suffer without key changes in network architecture

With demand increasing for super-fast, dynamic broadband services and applications regardless of location, ADC has stated that traditional methods to provide mobile coverage cannot scale to offer mobile operators the coverage, capacity and return on invested capital necessary to deliver 4G services.

ADC will present its portfolio of micro-cellular infrastructure solutions at the 2010 Mobile World Congress to be held in Barcelona from February 15-18. At MWC, ADC will show mobile operators how they can deliver on the promise of 4G mobile broadband by re-thinking mobile network architecture.

“We have already seen how smartphones can cause enormous 3G network capacity issues and unhappy customers if the infrastructure isn’t properly designed, and this is just a hint of what’s to come with 4G services,” said Dick Parran, president of the network solutions business unit at ADC.

4G service is different because the modulation efficiency varies widely depending on signal strength, so a user less than a kilometre from the nearest base station may well get the multi-megabit data service that’s advertised, but those farther away won’t see better service than they have today.

“Service providers need to address this issue now to meet customer expectations and maximise revenue opportunities when these services roll out as their networks must keep pace with the device and application evolution,” noted Parran.

The answer, according to ADC, is to deploy precision coverage solutions consisting of distributed antenna systems (DAS) for both in-building and outdoor coverage, as only these solutions can distribute strong signals to the mobile user while unlocking coverage from capacity.

Moreover, there is a looming spectrum availability crisis worldwide as more new data-devouring devices strain mobile networks. Although some vendors tout femtocells and picocells as the solution to coverage and capacity issues, the reality is that deploying them alone will make it very difficult to re-use precious frequency efficiently. Service providers today need the most flexible solutions available to deliver their multi-service, multi-band access and manage backhaul traffic.

“Mobile broadband profitability requires a holistic approach,” said Steven Hartley, principal analyst at global industry analyst Ovum. “Operators must adopt a range of technical solutions to manage costs, from traffic management tools, through to data offload and LTE or WiMAX. However, these will need to be allied with commercial approaches that protect revenues, such as tariff innovation and the enforcement of fair usage policies.”

At MWC, ADC will demonstrate the industry’s only complete line of micro-cellular architecture solutions that were specifically designed to address the coverage and capacity issues faced by 3G and 4G network operators. These solutions uniquely enable the cost-effective distribution of strong 3G and 4G wireless signals using techniques such as digital simulcast and SISO/MIMO to maximise performance and frequency re-use. ADC’s signal distribution systems are more cost effective to operate because they can be centrally managed with minimal effort and allow operators to maximise use of existing radio assets.