January 27, 2022
The Most Substantial Trends Impacting In-building Wireless in 2022
ADRF has been providing mobile carriers and enterprises with commercial and public safety in-building wireless connectivity solutions for over 20 years now, and there have been many constants in our industry during this time. But there has also been tons of innovation as wireless becomes more integral to our societal infrastructure with each passing year. We are certain that 2022 will be no different, but here are the trends we believe will make the biggest splash.
The Hype is Over: C-band is Here and Nationwide 5G Has Arrived
After years of the “5G hype,” and many major wireless investments later, C-band is officially here and so is mainstream 5G. With the addition of the C-band, Verizon and AT&T will be joining T-Mobile in having a true nationwide 5G network. This will be a major driver of 5G in-building upgrades so it’s an exciting time for our industry.
ADRF already supports some 5G bands and continues to put a lot of resources behind it. Our team will be showcasing our suite of 5G in-building products at wireless events this year supporting mmWave, as well as our upcoming C-band and mmWave repeaters.
Public Safety to Smartphones: “Do You Copy?”
Public Safety wireless is always changing alongside the NFPA and IFC code, but one larger trend has been moving closer to reality each year and it finally seems to be at a tipping point. If you read the new NFPA and IFC codes, what was once referred to as the “Emergency Responder Radio Communications Systems (ERRCS)” is now “Emergency Responder Communication Enhancement Systems (ERCES).” The omission of “radio” is a small but telling change, which finally acknowledges that the future isn’t about radio communication, but rather communication any way the first responder wants.
This is supported in the latest Frontline Public Safety Communications Survey, which found smartphones outpaced land mobile radio systems (LMRs) for the first time as the main communication tool, with 72% using these devices on the job every day, compared to 68% for LMRs.
Law enforcement is already using smartphones with LTE, which offers more dynamic public safety communication. For example, LTE enables Enhanced 911 (i.e. sending/receiving pictures of the crime scene) and z-axis location accuracy (i.e. knowing the exact location of people stuck in a collapsed building), and many other capabilities to help emergency responders. Fortunately, ADRF solutions support all public safety and LTE bands including 700/800, Band 14 and VHF/UHF.
The Infrastructure Bill Will Greatly Propel Wireless Growth
Back in November, the Biden administration allocated $65B in broadband funding as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The goal of the funding is to provide broadband connectivity for everyone, especially those that don’t have the FCC-minimum connectivity speeds of 25mbps. This is the most recent and largest attempt to minimize the digital divide among Americans, especially considering connectivity has become one of our basic needs in this day and age.
We have recently gotten clarity on how the majority of the funds will be distributed and the Senate has made a decision of who will lead NTIA. On January 11th, Google and Mozilla alum Alan Davidson was chosen as the director of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). He plans to allocate a majority of the funds – $48B to be exact – for broadband deployment, which could be WiFi, in-building wireless, or connectivity in rural areas. We know that the goal is to provide better, more reliable service for everyone so why not start with in-building since over 80% of connections begin and end indoors.
While there are certain to be other surprises and exciting new wrinkles in telecom this year, we believe these trends will have the most substantial impact on in-building wireless in 2022. We are excited to see it all unfold and continue to provide our customers future-proof solutions to help them adapt to a constantly growing wireless environment.