With the coming densification of cities, we often try to figure out how we will mount the devices in our cities. After all, urban areas are going to be the key focus of how to grow. Smart cities are not the only reason we will be mounting the equipment in cities. We want to bring underprivileged and underserved areas up to a high-tech region so that everyone there can become an internet business owner. I am an internet business owner; it’s a great opportunity for us to make something from our ideas. Ideas can be taken from our minds to reality faster than ever before. Cities are working hard to make these things happen for everyone. The don’t want favoritism; they only want to give everyone an opportunity to grow and build a business. The more successful the residents are, the more successful the city is and the more loyalty it will build for customers.
So how do we do all this great stuff? We densify networks. We offer Wi-Fi, CBRS, LTE-U, mmwave, and carrier networks where the people are. IOT will absolutely require that we have signal as close to the device as possible, not to mention the autonomous vehicles like cars and drones. While the technology is cool, we still need the physical mount. We still need to hang a box near the people. We still need to deploy a network and a backbone. That’s right; we need to install a box and a cable in the city.
Cities want it to look nice and to be quiet. That is what I have learned. How do we do that? We look at what we can mount to.
Strands – Cable companies use strands to mount the Wi-Fi boxes they hang. It makes rolling out the equipment quick and easy. Fewer permitting issues, the lowest thing on the poles, so it’s less of an issue to attach, put it near an access spot with a DOCSIS interface and installation is easy and quick. Easy and quick to roll out. The backhaul is generally the cable connection. The power source is also the cable connection. It’s very efficient and cost-effective. Why don’t cable companies roll out small cells?
Poles and lampposts – Mounting to the pole are how most carriers do it. They like to have 360 coverage, generally 3-panel antennas but they could have 2 or one. Omni antennas still serve their purpose for the carriers, but they prefer sectors to manage traffic. The small cell and antenna will go on a pole. The fiber is the preferred backhaul for carriers. They mount an antenna or 3 on the pole; they put a box on the pole with the radio head and fiber equipment, then they are done. Prior to doing any of this, they need to get rights to the pole, sign a lease or agreement, get fiber to the pole, get the permit to mount to the pole, get permits for the fiber to the pole, and get power to the pole. There is so much prep and permitting that happens prior to any carrier getting on any pole almost everywhere. It adds to the cost. Small cell hardware is cheap. Installation is cheap. Backhaul, permitting, planning and leasing are expensive.
Underground and manholes – There are solutions where Wi-Fi has been deployed on manholes for coverage. Fiber and small cells are put underground near the poles to keep the poles clean and pretty. Fiber is being run underground where possible to avoid those overhead and exposed cables from hanging off the poles and looking ugly. Underground can look nice, but as we grown and make changes, it’s a nightmare. We need to pull tons of permits and rip up the pavement and spend a ton of money to add a few strands of fiber just so we can grow or add new equipment.
Buildings – remember that the building is still a great way to mount the equipment. The buildings are not only the roof, don’t limit yourself. We can use the outside walls to mount small cells. We can use the windows in stairways to get the signal out to the people. We can put small cells in the windows of large buildings with storefronts. Why not, it’s easy and effective if the glass passes RF. Let’s get creative here. Why not work with small businesses and give them free access to the broadband to get inside their building and get the signal on the street. It just makes sense to me. It’s an asset that could be a win-win for everyone involved.
Public Transportation – we will be looking at buses and trains to have Wi-Fi. They could also pass the signal outside to the people there. They could have hot bus stops and train stations that can spread the signal to the people.
Kiosks, billboards, and signs – here is something that is really underutilized by most cities, they need to use city-owned assets beyond the bus stops. Billboards are obvious, they are everywhere and prove to be valuable in mounting wireless assets because most already have power. Many larger cities have kiosks to help people around the city. They have signs showing people city maps. They have pay phones that may be there for emergencies. I recommend using these assets or renting them so that broadband can get out to the city for more people to use. It could be a game changer by using something you already have available to provide new rental opportunities.
We need to get more creative to roll out new wireless formats. Whether it’s Wi-Fi, 5G, IOT, or any other format, let’s get the assets out there and see what we can realistically mount to.
Think about what the options could be! We can do so much more in a Dense Network. Dense networks are becoming mainstream for all of the world, so let’s get started here in the USA.
Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!
The foundations below do beautiful work, helping families in their time of need. Climbers often get seriously injured or die on the job. The foundations below support those families in their time of greatest need!
Hubble Foundation helps the families of climbers in a time of need!
Tower Family Foundation supports the families r tower climbers at the time of crisis when a climber falls.