February 14, 2023

A Year in Review of Wireless


A Year in Review of Wireless

As we begin to see wireless trends materialize this year, many of those are on the backs of significant changes in 2022, and in some cases, even 2021. To start the year off right we are looking at some of the major topics that will define this year’s most critical wireless innovations and impact our business moving forward. 


In-building 5G Will Become Commonplace

5G has been centerstage since 2019, but it was the $81 billion C-band spectrum auction in 2021 that really signaled the arrival of 5G networks in the same way we think of 4G/LTE. Verizon and AT&T’s average users’ 5G download speed increased by 34.6% and 15.8% respectively between March and December 2022 because of C-band. At the end of 2022, Verizon announced that they now have 175 million Americans with 5G, a year ahead of schedule, AT&T supports 285 million with its low-band spectrum 5G and T-Mobile covers 321 million people with its Extended Range 5G. 


The macro network growth in 2022 means that 5G will increasingly move indoors this year, and fortunately, ADRF is prepared with our DAS supporting all the main carrier bands for 5G including C-band, mmWave, 2.5GHz and 600MHz. In fact, analyst firm Mobile Experts predicts that the DAS segment will grow almost 20% in 2023.


Private Wireless Networks Are Becoming Necessary

In 2022, private wireless networking was at the forefront of everyone’s minds as a way to get more control over your network, improve bandwidth, and increase security. This year, it is expected to gain even more traction because some of those benefits are no longer a “nice to have,” and instead becoming a necessity for major corporations in sectors like manufacturing, utilities, healthcare and more. The continued sophistication of the connected device market is a big reason for this change, as now a lot of the hype is turning into tangible must-have applications. When organizations connect hundreds or thousands of different devices that require bandwidth, it becomes a real challenge to ensure the most mission-critical applications receive the lionshare of the bandwidth. More than anything else, solving this problem is what private wireless does the best. 


Converged Networks Grow as Lines Blur Between Commercial and Public Safety

In 2022, NFPA codes related to public safety communication were revised in Section 18.5 to finally acknowledge that converged solutions are acceptable as long as the commercial network meets the same requirements as the ERCES side of the system. As a result, there is clear precedent for both public safety and commercial wireless to share a single enclosure or infrastructure (pending AHJ authorization).


This will not only incentivize building owners to purchase more commercial networks because of the cost savings of installing at the same time as an ERCES, but it also mirrors the blurring lines between public safety and commercial usage. For example, the current version of NFPA is less centered on traditional radio communications and more focused on communications across all frequency bands which may include traditional SMR, LMR, etc. and newer transmission technologies, such as 5G and LTE. The reality is in many cases the true first responders are regular citizens using Smartphones.


We are excited to support our customers and partners in the continued growth of commercial and public safety. Even though 2022 was an exciting year in wireless, it felt more like a preamble for what’s to come in private wireless networking, indoor 5G, and converged solutions.