In a new eBook, CommScope takes a look at the ongoing transition in the in-building wireless market, which is marked by a decrease in carrier investment as enterprises and building owners take over the capex associated with DAS, small cells and other in-building wireless solutions. The network infrastructure vendor details best practices associated with in-building deployments.
At this point, there’s consensus on the need for robust cellular communications inside, where the majority of mobile traffic originates. However, a combination of financing challenges and market education gaps mean there are still many new buildings that were not originally designed to accommodate wireless infrastructure.
To the expense point, CommScope suggests that a “typical IBW solution like DAS or small cell,” will cost around $1 per square foot, whereas “low-cost industrial carpet,” costs $3 per square foot. Both investments have an approximately 10-year lifespan, but, unlike carpet, wireless access is routinely referred to as “the fourth utility” right up there with power, water and gas.
To making the financials work, the authors of the CommScope eBook look at the three primary models:
- Funding by wireless operators–This is an increasingly uncommon solution as operators focus dollars on marquee venues like pro sports stadiums and airports; for an enterprise, a one-operator solution often won’t meet connectivity needs.
- Engaging with a neutral host company–This model takes capex and opex burden off of the enterprise, but is often subject to contract conditions “defining a positive ROI as a requisite condition of continued operation and rights to control the physical infrastructure of the IBW solution.”
- Self-funding–This is the most expensive route, but the enterprise has complete control over its network, which can be designed, deployed and upgraded based on the a users’ specific needs.
Other topics covered in the publication include the role of unlicensed technologies (LTE-U and LAA) in an in-building, enterprise context, DAS and small cell specifics, conducting a needs assessment and more.