May 24, 2023

Connect (X): Bringing Together the Wireless Industry

This year’s Connect X, hosted by the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA), saw a major turn-out of 170 exhibitors and more than 3,500 attendees. It’s always great to be a part of a conference where installers, neutral hosts and wireless operators from across the country come together to celebrate the advancement of our industry.

This year at our booth we showcased our latest 5G connectivity solutions including the SDRX 5G repeater and our converged solution, the ADXV head end (HE) inside our new NEMA 4 enclosure. This allows building owners to deploy both commercial and public safety wireless systems using the same enclosure, which reduces deployment, maintenance, and management costs of installing both systems. 

There were also many insightful speaking sessions led by industry experts. Here are some of the standout themes we saw at the conference.

5G… and more 5G!

As the show highlights leaders in 5G infrastructure, it’s no surprise that 5G was at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Now that 5G is finally here and being applied across the network spectrum, many are wondering if it’s beneficial. Overall, attendees were in agreement that it will be worth it. 

Speakers also spoke on whether 5G aligned with previous predictions, its current state and what’s to come in the future. Fixed wireless access (FWA) was a key talking point since it is one of the first tangible applications of 5G. FWA is on track to supporting areas in rural America that are underserved. 

In the World of Wireless Carriers

Although there was a noticeable lack of carrier presence at the show this year, that didn’t stop the nation’s big wireless operators from being at the center of conversation. Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T are cutting spending costs as they round out their 5G buildout programs. Analysts and experts shared their perspectives on the actions of the operators. Notably, financial analysts from Wells Fargo commented how they “came away encouraged about the outlook.”

On the other hand, some conference attendees left feeling pessimistic about Dish Network. The company aims to become the US’ fourth wireless carrier, which was a major contingent upon the acceptance of the T-Mobile acquisition of Sprint, but its halt in spending brings on worries about the wireless space. By 2025, analysts anticipate that Dish’s spending will increase dramatically.

The US Government and Wireless Networks 

Since 2021, there has been hype about the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program which is set to bring affordable internet. That hype continued at the conference where there were discussions about the billions in government subsidies that will impact the telecom industry in the near future. 

The government’s interest in fiber doesn’t deter FWA providers.They believe that state regulators will alter their decisions especially in places where fiber requires hefty spending. During the conference, Patrick Halley who serves as WIA’s new chief executive shared that the organization is partnering with state officials to promote FWA as an ideal fiber-alternative. “Each state is going to be a lot different” in respect to their funding priorities, Halley said.

Connect X 2023 was a very collaborative experience! We’re excited for next year’s event in Atlanta and we anticipate the show being even bigger and better.