In life, we are often faced with the choice of ‘either or’ – we can have a fast car or an economical one, an exotic holiday or an inexpensive one, a delicious meal or a less fattening one. Rarely can we get all the benefits combined. Compromise is inevitable.
But that’s no longer the case for the world of telecom radio access. There’s a new kid on the block that’s re-writing the rules.
It’s called MulteFire and it’s designed to combine the high performance of market-leading Nokia LTE with the simple deployment of Wi-Fi.
It all stems from the need for operators to service the unprecedented growth in data traffic. Operators and enterprises are preparing for a 1000x increase in data traffic by 2020 and seeking a cost-effective way to serve this demand.
Using unlicensed spectrum is one option, yet this brings its own challenges. Because it is shared among technologies and users, a high quality user experience cannot always be guaranteed. This is particularly challenging in areas with a high user density.
These conditions are what LTE was designed for – providing high-performance mobile broadband in dense network deployments. Could the benefits of LTE be realized using only unlicensed spectrum?
One way forward is with License Assisted Access (LAA) and LTE Wi-Fi link Aggregation (LWA), both of which deliver good LTE network performance and an enhanced user experience. Yet both require the operator to have an ‘anchor’ in licensed spectrum, limiting potential uses.
Now with MulteFire, LTE is set to break free from licensed spectrum completely.
Using unlicensed spectrum, particularly the 5 GHz band, means MulteFire can easily be deployed by small businesses, enterprises, venue owners, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), cable companies, building owners and mobile operators.
For traditional operators, it represents a new business opportunity and the chance to improve competitiveness, while it gives ISPs and enterprises the chance to own and control their own LTE networks.
And for the all-important customers, MulteFire offers superior mobility combined with a smooth handover to 3GPP technologies. It also provides end-to-end quality of service and experience and seamless connection.
The technology now has its own support group in the form of the MulteFire Alliance. Founded by MulteFire’s developers Qualcomm and Nokia, this will promote the technology and work towards a global technical specification.
Now, it’s no longer a case of either high performance or high convenience – we can all have both.
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