Young generations – such as millennials – use technology and mobile phones at a higher rate than any other generation. Multitasking, online services, “the sharing economy," urban environment and ad-hoc living are just a few characteristics of society for the new millennials. Such traits will inevitably create greater demand for high rate packet-based services, which in turn will require the implementation of advanced technologies. Most demands are centered on urban environments in large cities. One of the major challenges that telecommunications companies have to deal with in order to meet up with such great demands in urban environment is signal loss, interference, or fading within the urban environment.
Fading refers to the deviation of the attenuation affecting a signal over certain propagation media. A fading channel is a communication channel that experiences a loss of volume, and may be due to multipath propagation, referred to as multipath induced fading, or to shadowing from obstacles such as the case with high-rise buildings and the urban environment.
Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP)
Coordinated Multi-Point (CoMP) is a new technology with a new approach, where multiple available communications resources are being utilized correspondingly to transmit a signal by utilizing multiple base stations to transmit a signal to a user. Yet another revolutionary way in which coordinated multi-point can be used is by relying on the collaboration of surrounding mobile users (Collaborative MESH). Each user will transmit not only their own data, but also act as a cooperative agent, thus enhancing the signal's strength.
In either way, telecommcations companies will have to step up technologically to minimize the gap between demand and available means of signal transmission. Today, the LTE/LTE-A standard, which is considered the most advanced communications technology on the market, does include the coordinated multi-point technology, but due to required investment in resources, it’s not available for public use.
Making this available to the public will significantly advance the coverage and capacity provided by telco companies. Furthermore, this will require great resources from telco's, including duplicating radio frequencies and coordinating between multiple base stations, synchronization, coordination and a new infrastructure all together. Will telco's invest such high costs in delivering optimized communications services or will they continue to delay the inevitable?
Implementing this approach and technology from the end-user angle, where each user will transmit not only their own data, but also act as a cooperative agent and enhancing the signal's strength will require even more investments from mobile phone manufacturers.
Mobile phone manufacturers such as Samsung, Apple, Inc. (AAPL) , Huawei and ZTE to name a few, will need to make a few technology changes. A most obvious example of such a change includes battery capacity, for instance. Battery life is one of the most important things we consider when buying a smartphone. According to tests, Apple iPhone provides the best, with an average life of around 13 hours and 2 minutes. Android-based phones come in second, with an average life of 11 hours and 40 minutes. This would have to drastically change in order for each user to transmit not only their own data, but also act as a cooperative agent.
Imagine a world with long battery lifespan for mobile phones. Will mobile phone manufacturers take this leap and manufacture smartphones that will enable such communion collaboration between users?
This is one of the major differences between commercially available mobile communications and mission-critical-communication. Currently, the only place where cooperative diversity is implemented is in mission-critical-communications and is referred to as Collaborative MESH.
Collaborative MESH technology is uniquely designed to overcome urban, densely noisy and N-LOS (non-line-of-site) environment, with real-time synchronization ability. Collaborative MESH amplifies all communication transfer and reception from any multipoint-to-multipoint thus further reinforcing and assuring a strong and stable network.
For obvious reasons, mission-critical-communications cannot afford to lose a signal, as many lives depend on this vital line of communications. Though very few companies apply Collaborative MESH, those that do deliver a strong and resilient wireless communications network.
Joining Forces to Deliver Optimal Mobile Communications?
With a growing need for constant communications enhancements that further broadens the gap between what mobile users need and what they are actually getting,the question remain: Will technologies continue to live in parallel on the expense of the mobile user, or will they eventually collaborate to bring the change needed in order to keep up with future generations? Millennials’ affinity for technology will reshape the market, and with most aspects of life being managed from the palm of their hands, it's only a matter of time before telcos adapt accordingly.
Yossi Segal is the Co-Founder& VP of Research and Development for Mobilicom
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