Advertisment

3G Hopes

author-image
VoicenData Bureau
New Update

There is a huge upside in opportunities for the growth of

wireless products and infrastructure solutions in the Indian market, as it

gradually moves towards maturity. Industry experts say that the Indian market

will be driven by two things-continuous expansion of GSM and the advent of

3G-over the next two years. For GSM, there is a continuous need for being more

efficient in carrying the traffic, as well as making the expansion of networks

smooth and incur the lowest costs possible. 3G service will attract huge

investments in wireless product, infrastructure, IP backhaul, terminal, and VAS.

Advertisment

Wireless growth has already taken over the growth of

wireline in India. Driven by affordability, reduction in tariffs and taxes,

handset prices, innovative packages to suit different segments, availability,

network expansion, distribution reach, the Indian wireless infrastructure market

is set on a growth path. However, in order to achieve a sustainable growth,

adequate spectrum is required. The available bands for GSM spectrum are 900 MHz

and 1,800 MHz. As of today, the 900 MHz band has been fully utilized and the

1,800 MHz band has miniscule availability.

The government has set up a committee for enhancing

spectrum availability. In fact, India may never have adequate spectrum, but the

country will keep getting its bit from time to time. Spectrum allocation by the

government is a major concern among operators as well as infrastructure

providers. Another concern for infrastructure providers is the dropping prices.

Consolidation, restructuring to improve bottomline and technologies that can

ensure market penetration and cost efficiency will be the main trends in this

space. Setting up a wireless infrastructure in urban areas is difficult, and

hence a greater feasibility is available only in rural areas.

Expert Panel

Vikas Giridhar, head, business development, South Asia, enterprise

wireless and RFID, Motorola



DK Ghosh, CMD, ZTE Telecom India


Prem Nithin, senior technical consultant, Cisco India & SAARC


Subhashini Prabhakar, CTM, Dax Networks


Veli Pekka Saikkonen, head, network systems sales, India, NSN


P Balaji, VP, marketing & strategy, Ericsson



Advertisment

All big private operators are already undertaking 3G

trials (WCDMA/HSPA and CDMA EVDO). A few of the big integrated operators are

also planning to deploy WiMax networks as part of their strategy to provide

connectivity to enterprises. However, with no clarity on BWA spectrum auction,

some service providers have started evaluating the option of leapfrogging to 4G

or LTE. Trai is considering to float a consultation paper on LTE. The industry

was expecting Indian operators to start moving towards this technology by 2011,

but the stalemate over 3G hints that it is quite unlikely.

Trends in Focus



After the Hutchison-Vodafone transaction in 2007, some multinational

operators (Vodafone, Sistema, Etisalat, Telenor, Docomo, etc,) entered into this

market and played together with Indian consortiums. In 2010, the capex and opex

from these players in spectrum auction and 3G/2G rollout and expansion is

expected to be more than $10 bn. The investment patterns will be more and more

diversified in this market, including direct investments from shareholders and

strategic investors, borrowing from local and international financial market,

vendor financing from suppliers, and hiving-off current assets like towers.

On the enterprises side, the market is witnessing the

availability of 802.11n radio devices. Such high speed network capability is

enabling enterprises to adopt wireless as the backbone and be able to roll out

high bandwidth demanding applications.

Advertisment

2009 was marked by the economic crisis with global

implications. The vendors faced some challenges in the market; however, the

industry did see them expanding their product profile and global footprint,

providing them an alternative avenue of growth.

The Pressing Need



Given the limited fixed infrastructure in India and the high cost of

deploying fixed last mile connectivity, wireless technologies are essential to

increase broadband penetration in India. Among wireless technology options that

are available, 3G is an important one as it is the upgrade path for GSM

operators, and their large existing subscriber base is the starting point for

migrating customers to 3G. In addition, 3G can be used both for more efficient

delivery of voice and for mobile broadband.

In emerging markets like India, the need is at two

different levels. At the urban level, there are enterprises and consumers

evolving in their mobile experience by using more and more data services; while

at the rural level, it is about reducing the total cost of ownership to drive

broadband adoption. 3G has evolved to address both these needs simultaneously.

Thus, it has been keeping operators on the edge of their seats.

Advertisment

CIOs are demanding tools that help reduce network

downtime; solutions that assure optimum network availability; and diagnostic

tools that detect vulnerabilities in the network much before it impacts the

network. Wireless intrusion, detection and prevention is another area of strong

focus. Thus, a solution needed should be vendor-agnostic Wireless Intrusion

Prevention System (WIPS). An enterprise solution that provides complete

protection against wireless threats, policy compliance monitoring, robust

performance monitoring and troubleshooting, and location tracking in an

appliance can scale up to meet the largest global organizations' needs. The

solution provides comprehensive protection and operational support for all

802.11n networks as well.

Tips for CIOs

  • There is no shortcut for proper pre-deployment RF survey, planning,

    and validation
  • Insist on purpose built RF modeling tools to predict the behavior of

    your RF network at your site even before deployment
  • Leverage the next generation WLAN controller based architecture for

    easy plug-n-play deployment and easy management
  • Ensure a strong level of security
  • Opt for dedicated wireless IDS/IPS appliance
  • Integrated sensor and access point to lower TCO
  • Consider dual radio 802.11n if you have legacy 802.11a/b/g clients.
  • CIOs must keep in mind the availability and adoption of standards
  • Interoperability between equipments of different technologies and

    vendors
  • Choice and availability of spectrum

One of the main challenges any network operator faces is

predicting customer demand and preparing the network to support it ahead of

time. Improving or even sustaining a solid RoI is a big challenge for all

network operators, more so in a country like India where ARPUs are one of the

lowest in the world. By using converged and scalable infrastructure, operators

are able to improve their RoI on network infrastructure

Advertisment

Tech Focus



Operators in their expansion modes are spending on 2G equipments,

thus keeping vendors focused on SDR. UMTS/HSPA+ will be the first option for all

operators, which can support both voice service and data access service.

WiMax is at the initial stages of take off. The incumbent

service providers have come out with their RFPs for setting up WiMax networks

for both rural and urban connectivity. In India, since mobile proliferation is

higher than PC penetration, 3G is expected to drive the convergence between

mobile and Internet platforms.

While 3G will revolutionize the way we work, upgrading and

maintaining infrastructure will be a major concern. While upgrading network

infrastructure, service networks for voice, video, and data-to meet the

expanding data/video traffic-will complicate infrastructure providers who are

focused on keeping the costs low. Adding a separate layer and maintaining

quality will become a nightmare for operators.

Advertisment

India benefits from the fact that it can leapfrog in terms

of technology in its quest to connect subscribers. Hence, Indian operators have

the option of choosing advanced technology and vendors with broader experience

of offering LTE in other countries.

Also the adoption of mobility solutions based on the

wireless platform by various industry segments like hospitality, manufacturing,

retail, real estate, etc, is leading to more adoption and proliferation of WLAN.

Government SWAN's and rural connectivity are also leading to more adoption of

wireless in the country. Thus, vendors are enhancing their profile in this

space.

Adoption of IEEE 802.11n standard represents an important

step towards the realization of dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) radios. A major

infrastructural issue here is the lack of reliable power supply. The limited

battery life of mobile devices is a key bottleneck, especially since the backup

power available is not sufficient. Also, deploying a wireless LAN, especially in

unlicensed 2.4HGz ISM band used by 802.11b and 802.11g as different devices

compete for the same spectrum. Other concerns persisting enterprises while

setting up a wireless infrastructure include security, reach, interference,

interoperability, and manageability.

Advertisment

The increasing need for anytime connectivity is creating

new challenges for today's networking professionals, who must respond to the

growing demand for WLANs in an era of tight budgets and reduced resources. These

networking professionals are discovering that in the absence of a corporate

sanctioned wireless network, employees are deploying their own unauthorized

access points that put the entire network at risk.

WLAN adoption is still relatively new and niche in India

and the region. It is only now that enterprises and other segments are forced to

rethink their wireless strategy and realize that an integrated approach by

having a seamless integration between fixed and wireless deployment would lead

to more flexibility and productivity.

With respect to WAN network the growth remains stagnant

because of the spectrum issues. However, where LAN is concerned vendors have

been focusing on developing more products. Vendors are enhancing their product

profile and releasing new product with integrated functionalities like ADSL with

wireless to address the growing demand of wireless market.

Network assurance is another area where a significant cost

saving can be achieved. Solutions and diagnostic tools that enable this are

available which can help enterprises to reduce network downtime and cost on

rectifying the outage, and prevent loss of working time due to network outage.

These tools offer early RoI and improve the availability of optimum network

performance at all times. This is why the industry will see development in this

segment.

Wi-Fi deployment have taken off in India, with verticals

such as hospitality, manufacturing, academic institutions being early adopters.

The response to public hotspots (Wi-Fi) was tepid till recent. 2010 will also

see a concentrated focus on the development of wireless cities. With recent

announcements like the government's move to delicense the 2.4 GHz and 5.1 GHz

bands, on which the Wi-Fi platform works and with incumbents looking at this

space actively, the adoption is set to grow. However, the government needs to

clarify some of the bottlenecks that have arisen such as:

  • Low power level of the delicensed 2.4 GHz devices have

    to be restricted to 100 mW of radiated power output (26 dBm)
  • Coverage area restriction placed 'within the single

    contiguous campus of an individual, duly recognized organization or

    institution'
  • Hotspots in public areas still need licenses from the

    wireless planning & coordination wing (WPC) and violations are illegal and

    liable for a penalty
  • The outdoor use of the same spectrum requires a license
  • Spill over of signals to a public area (like roads or

    streets) is liable to punishment

Some part of the growth comes from the use of wireless connectivity for

physical security applications such as video surveillance across enterprises and

municipalities.

Green Brigade



Vendors in India have been marketing green well. They have been focusing on

solutions to reduce energy consumption of base stations. There are solution

providers in the market with station site energy efficient up to 70%. In a

typical network with approximately 10,000 base station sites and five year-old

equipments. the annual energy savings from these innovations is 51 GWh or 30%

using the existing sites and hardware. With new hardware, the energy saving

results in 109 GWh or 64% per year. This equals 55,000 tons of less CO2

emissions.

In addition, many vendors are innovating with energy

solutions, which run on solar and wind energy. As mobile networks expand into

rural areas, operators cannot always rely on infrastructure, as power grids are

not always reliable or readily available and base station sites need to run

autonomously. A sustainable alternative is to use renewable energy sources such

as wind and solar power.

By 2011, renewable energy will be the first choice for all

remote base station sites that they install. Vendors are working on flexi base

stations that help in lowering operators' costs as it is small, efficient and

energy efficient for unreliable power grid/autonomous sites. The weatherproof

flexi BTS does not need shelter of air conditioning for the site, and thus low

cost sites can be used with low rent, optimal site location and low power

requirements. Also savings on transmission can be achieved with local switching.

So, most connections can be handled locally avoiding the need for excessive

transmission to the operator core sites.

An interesting innovation is the concrete tower solution

that has a lower environmental impact than traditional steel, using one-tenth of

the steel compared to traditional sites. It consumes up to 40% less power from a

lifecycle perspective. This is because concrete results in less energy and CO2

(at least 30% lower) than steel during production and transport. But the most

important fact is that during operation feeder losses are substantially reduced,

and no active cooling is needed.

On the efficiency front, one of the key breakthrough

technologies we expect to gain momentum is in the domain of spectrum

optimization as part of evolution of GSM. Given the hyper competition in the

India telecom industry, CTOs should deploy solutions that reduce their total

cost of ownership. This means solutions that bring around efficiencies in power

and spectrum utilization and offer high capacity and coverage in a given area.

Therefore, the thrust is on how to make the best of the spectrum that is

available, which is so scarce and the demand for the services so high.

Heena Jhingan



heenaj@cybermedia.co.in

Advertisment