For quite a few years, experts within the wireless communications industry have been expressing concern about the potential for running out of wireless network capacity. Moreover, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski noted the ongoing challenges in his 2009 address at CTIA.
In July, the Fortune article, Spectrum Squeeze: The Battle for Bandwidth, envisioned a potential fight for wireless bandwidth frequencies between television networks and telecom service providers. In Canada, earlier in September, Shaw Communications announced it would use Wi-Fi as its next-generation wireless network of choice — in anticipation of future customer demand.
A key segment in the Public Sector wireless market to keep an eye on in 2011 is the U.S. DoD and Global Defense industry which is in the early stages of a major transformation around secure mobile communications and next-gen wireless LANs. One such transformation is the U.S. Department of Navy’s transition from NMCI to Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) which supports over 700,000 users in over 3000 locations and includes requirements for 802.11a/g/n for voice and data support.
The ramp of WLAN technology into large Military installations (Air, Land, and Sea) and Defense operations is being driven by the obvious benefits associated with secure 802.11n networking along with critical WLAN functionality such as purpose-built Spectrum Intelligence for Wi-Fi communications (i.e. Cisco CleanAir). For the Defense industry, Cisco CleanAir changes the game for wireless in a big way as it delivers on the promise to run mission critical communications over the unlicensed (and sometimes messy…) RF spectrum of Wi-Fi. But there is a catch…without the required product approvals and security certifications, Defense agencies are limited in what they are allowed to deploy…but that’s soon to change in 2011--more on this later.
Four developments this past week illustrate the highs and lows in the difficult battle to migrate American airwaves into the service of wireless broadband, an objective that has been recognized by President Obama, the Federal Communications Commission, and just about everyone who matters inside the Washington beltway as a national imperative.