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Tarun George: Unleashing the True Power of LTE Networks for Machines

With the growing requirements of low-latency, high-speed networks, the transition to 5G has become paramount, particularly for internet of things.

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The author of this Expert Opinion is Tarun George, co-founder of Cavli Wireless.

Although the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) Release 15 has officially commenced the distribution of the 5th Generation of Telecommunication (5G) networks, the adoption of legacy mobile technologies that long reigned in the market such as LTE (Long Term Revolution) is still continuing to gain momentum.

3GPP or the 3rd Generation Partnership Project is a combined project that caters to a huge range of telecommunication networks in the world. It aims at developing widely acceptable specifications for the third generation era of mobile communication systems that includes telecommunication technologies including radio access, core networks, and services.

The major focus for all 3GPP Releases is to make the system backward and forward compatible where possible, to ensure that the operation of the user equipment is uninterrupted. A good example of this principle was the priority placed on backward compatibility between LTE and LTE-Advanced so that an LTE-A terminal can work in an LTE cell and an LTE terminal works in the LTE-A cell.

Growing requirements for low-latency, high speed networks for machines

With the growing requirements of low-latency, high-speed networks and the ability to service more devices than ever before, the transition of 2G/3G/4G to 5G has become paramount. This is accelerated by the deployment of massive IoT, or internet of things.

The burgeoning number of connected devices led to the need for a dedicated low-power wide-area cellular IoT network. 3GPP responded to it with two technologies LTE-M (short for LTE for machines) and NB-IoT, which refers to narrowband IoT.

LTE-M has been made the de facto choice when crucial data has to be sent on a real-time basis with sufficient bandwidth and network speeds to address the needs of M2M communication. With the 3GPP Release 14, the speed of LTE-M has been upgraded by launching LTE-M2 which boasts 4Mbps speeds compared to 1Mbps from the previous generation which can be translated to use cases with higher bandwidth requirements and for devices in mobility & voice capabilities.

Ever since its release in 2010, several Mobile Network Operators (MNO) across the world have heavily invested in the LTE network rollouts, towards the transition from 2G/3G to 4G. Large-scale global deployment of LTE networks has contributed towards improved network coverage, easily available, and affordable high-speed devices.

Figure: LTE subscriptions forecast 2016-2020 (Image Source: GSA)

As reported by the GSA, the contribution of LTE to mobile subscribers has steadily climbed up the ladder over the years. The source reported that the end of 2016 witnessed a massive increase in the number of global LTE subscribers that reached up to 1.52 Bn. It has also forecasted that the number of 4G connections is expected to double by 2020 moving from 23% in 2016 to 45% in 2020. GSA predicts that the number of LTE subscribers would hit 3.8 Bn by the end of 2020.

LTE-M, the industry term for LTE MTC (LTE – Machine Type Communication), which refers explicitly to LTE-M1, is an abbreviation for Long Term Evolution (4G) category M1 or Long Term Evolution of Machines. The radio technology is a standards-based protocol that offers extended indoor and subterranean coverage and is apt for Low Power Wide Area IoT applications, supporting a battery life for smart devices longer than 10 years.

Applications and Use Cases of LTE-M

LTE-M supports several low-power IoT applications such as sensor monitoring, asset tracking, fleet tracking (Fleet Management Solutions), applications that real-time communication, industry 4.0 applications, etc. Use cases include Smart Utility Metering, Fleet Management Solutions, Patient monitoring systems, Asset management solutions, Preventive Maintenance, etc. A total of 32 countries around the world have LTE-M1 coverage through 45 Mobile Network Operators (MNO) as of April 2020.

Fleet Management Solution

Fleet Management Solutions enable SMBs & Enterprises to optimize schedules and routes for their logistics department – be it for vehicles that are traversing interstate or heavy engineering vehicles that move within predefined geo-fences. With LTE-M coverage, be able to remotely optimize vehicle routes, monitor driver behaviour, increase productivity, cost-efficiency, and obtain the efficiency of your fleets.

Smart Utility Metering

With the need for intelligent and sustainable environments, smart city projects are today gaining much traction. Energy distribution authorities can remotely monitor and control the distribution and consumption of resources at any given location with Smart Utility Metering solutions.

Predictive Maintenance

In environments like factories and industries, heavy machines and equipment would require a timely inspection to detect signs of wear or tear. IoT-enabled techniques are designed to help determine the condition of in-service equipment in order to estimate when maintenance should be performed. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is making this easier for the user by using Predictive Maintenance solutions to forecast and detect anomalies before fault incidents.

Micro-mobility

Micro-mobility services offer an eco-friendly, cost-effective answer to hectic traffic congestion. They bring together a diversity of stakeholders such as traffic authorities, product manufacturers, platform operators, and government agencies to make transportation safer, cleaner, efficient and reliable.
“IoT can finally achieve true mobility with LTE-M. Devices can move unrestricted over a wide range, opening up new application opportunities that would otherwise be impossible using 3G or 4G. LTE-M is the best low power solution for tracking applications, and Orange has been a pioneer in LTE-M across Europe along with the best reach through roaming coverage,” said John Mathew of Cavli.

The Decline of 2G: LTE-M is Here to Reign

Originally designed for voice calling in mobile communications and for applications requiring small amounts of data, 2G networks are popularly known for their reliability but sadly infamous for being among the slowest cellular connections in the market. This makes it difficult to achieve stable connectivity in hard-to-reach areas. With the bandwidth levels reaching their peak in the frequency range allocated for 2G, a new standard technology for its replacement is inevitable given the large adoption of smart connected devices/products in the years to come.

When compared to 2G, LTE-M networks offer a better solution in terms of remote coverage, data speeds, higher bandwidth & network capacity, longer battery life, and low device cost. While the transition remains challenging in several regions where IoT use cases such as Light Vehicle/Asset Tracking relies on 2G, it’s about time that regulators and IoT product makers alike need to realize why LTE-M is the future of connected things. In most cases, simply adding a new modem to the existing infrastructure could be an easy solution. Although an entire replacement of the outdated infrastructure could potentially increase device functionality.

Years of experience handling business operations and marketing equipped Tarun George with the prerequisites to lead as the Chief Operating Officer at Cavli Wireless, Inc. since 2017. Prior to Cavli, Tarun built a long and polished track in the ICT industry, covering the spectrum of operational, regulatory as well as the investment and Venture Capital perspectives. At Cavli, he provides a wide array of expertise for day-to-day operations and global strategy. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to commentary@breakfast.media. The views expressed in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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Dianne Crocker: Recession Fears Have Real Estate Market Forecasters Hitting the Reset Button

Growing fears of recession trigger pullback on previous rosy forecasts.

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The author of this Expert Opinion is Dianne Crocker, Principal Analyst for LightBox

The lyrics to “Same As It Ever Was” by the Talking Heads certainly don’t apply to how 2022 is playing out in the commercial real estate market. Two quarters of negative economic growth has put a damper on market sentiment and triggered fears that the U.S. economy is heading for a recession. By midyear, market analysts were taking a good, hard look at their rosy forecasts from the start of the New Year and redrawing the lines.

Once upon a time…

At the start of 2022, forecasters were bullishly predicting that commercial real estate investment and lending levels would be nearly as good as 2021. This was significant, considering that 2021 set new records for deal-making and lending volume as the debt and equity capital amassed during the pandemic while looking for a home in U.S. commercial real estate.

What a difference a few quarters have made. Virtually, all the predictions that started the New Year were obsolete by mid-summer. The abrupt shift in market conditions is palpable and surprised just about everyone. Now, markets are reaching an inflection point that is in sharp contrast with the strong rebound of last year.

The two I’s: Inflation and interest rates

At the core of the recent upset in market sentiment is the persistence of high inflation, which seems to be ignoring all attempts by the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates and bring prices down. Higher inflation is having a ripple effect throughout the economy, pushing up the costs of construction materials, energy, and consumer goods. Among the notable economic indicators showing stress at mid-year was the GDP, which fell for the second consecutive quarter, and the Consumer Price Index, which jumped 9.1% year-over-year in June – the highest increase in about four decades.

In July, the CPI fell to 8.5%, an encouraging sign that inflation was beginning to stabilize. By the latest August report from LightBox, however, hopes were dashed when the CPI showed little improvement, holding firm at a still high of 8.3%.

The market is responding to a higher cost of capital as lenders tap the brakes. As the cost of capital rises with each interest rate hike and concerns of a recession intensify, many large U.S. financial institutions are pulling back on their loan originations for the rest of 2022 and into 2023. This change in tenor is a significant shift, given that 2021 was a record-breaking year for commercial real estate lending. Many lenders have already shifted to a more defensive underwriting position as they look to mitigate risks.

The Mortgage Bankers Association, which had previously predicted that lending levels in 2022 would break the $1 trillion mark for the first time revised their forecast downward in mid-July. By year-end, the MBA now expects volume to be a significant 18% below 2021 levels—and one-third lower than the bullish forecast made in February. Now, investment activity is cooling as higher borrowing costs drive some buyers from the market.

In the investment world, transactions were down by 29% at midyear due to a thinning buyer pool as higher rates impact access to debt capital. Market volatility is causing investors, lenders, and owners to rethink strategies, reconsider assumptions, and prepare for possible disruption.

Looking ahead to year-end and 2023

The rapid and diverse shifts in the market make for an uncertain forecast and certainly a more cautious investment environment. The battle between inflation and interest rates will continue over the near term. As LightBox’s investor, lender, valuation, and environmental due diligence clients move toward the 4th quarter—typically the busiest quarter of the year–unprecedented volatility is driving them to recalibrate and reforecast given recent market developments.

Continued softness in transaction volume is likely to continue as rates and valuations establish a new equilibrium. If property prices begin to level out, there will be more pressure on buyers to consider how to improve a property to get their return on investment. The next chapter of the commercial real estate market will be defined by how long inflation sticks around, how high interest rates go, and whether the economy slips into a recession (and how deeply). The greatest areas of opportunity will be found in asset classes like office and retail that are evolving away from traditional uses and morphing to meet the needs of today’s market. Until barometers stabilize, it’s important to rethink assumptions, watch developments, and recalibrate as necessary.

Dianne Crocker is the Principal Analyst for LightBox, delivering strategic analytics, best practices in risk management, market intelligence reports, educational seminars, and customized research for stakeholders in commercial real estate deals. She is a highly respected expert on commercial real estate market trends. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to commentary@breakfast.media. The views reflected in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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Jeff Pulver and Noah Rafalko: A Humble Request to the FCC on Robocalls

Blocking bad actors requires a whole new way of thinking, the authors say in this ExpertOp exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

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The authors of this Expert Opinion are Jeff Pulver (left), innovator in VoIP and Noah Rafalko, is a pioneer in TNID

Should the Federal Communications Commission seek out alternative platforms to solve their 2022 spam, scam and robocall issues? Yes! Does Blockchain offer valuable solutions? Yes! We would like to ask the FCC to increase the width of their lens when it comes to deploying solutions to solve their growing number of systemic challenges.

Any action to stop robocall insanity and tech-driven scams would be welcome. While Americans deal with the linger pandemic, mass shootings, an uncertain economy and war in Europe, the constant annoyance from scammers and 4.1 billion robocalls a month is just too much. Most people have responded by literally giving up voice communications all together.

Recently implemented legislation called STIR/SHAKEN is a step in the right direction, but it is not a long-term solution. The FCC  is simply taking old standards and applying them to new technologies. New thinking is needed; the next generation of technology must be explored. And the most promising of the new tools to protect our telecommunications system from fraudulent players lies in blockchain.

The key to stopping these nefarious acts lies in a digital identity solution powered by blockchain – a shard database or ledger. An identity solution enables customers to be confident that the communication is truly from enterprises they know and trust.

With blockchain, only authorized and verified messages get through. Spam and robocalls are virtually eliminated in one shot. All that’s required is a slight change in how we approach communications.

In a world where consumers are already doing whatever they can to self-manage their identity, it isn’t a large leap of faith to imagine adding a certified, digital ID to our telephone numbers.

Consumers freely use their telephone numbers to attest and manage their identity – even more than they use their Social Security numbers, birthdays, mother’s maiden name and secret questions. In our current digital universe, consumers use their phone numbers to register for store discounts, receive health and safety alerts and even transfer money to others.

And in their effort to stop spam and robocalls, consumers willingly add apps such as Hiya, paying over $300 million a year to these intermediaries.

The FCC needs to evolve and embrace the technology that allows consumers and mobile carriers who have a shared stake in attesting their identities. They need to recognize that blockchain technology offers an elegant, all-encompassing solution to the $40 billion in fraud that consumers fall victim to every year.

It’s time we leveraged a solution that’s already being used in other countries such as India, where blockchain technology helps protect over 600 million citizens from spam and robocalls.

Back in 2004, when the future of telecommunications was being written, the FCC was challenged with laying down rules governing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). At that time, we hosted brown-bag lunches for Congress, and held open demonstration days at the FCC as well as a mini-trade show on the Hill in our effort to inform and educate Congress, staffers and other government employees on the latest and greatest innovations in Internet communications technology.

The FCC would be wise to revisit this practice of show and tell where they hear from the innovators of new game-changing technologies that can solve their biggest concerns. It certainly is wiser than simply taking advice handed down from lobbyists and relying on legislation that’s severely limited and unenforceable.

When the FCC uses its influence to investigate and embrace new and innovative technologies, they can finally make significant headway in restoring trust in the quality of service associated with our communications.

Jeff Pulver is an innovator in the field of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). He was instrumental in changing how the FCC classified VoIP in 2004, paving the way for the development of video and voice internet communications. The co-founder of Vonage, Jeff has invested in over 400 start-ups. 

Noah Rafalko is a pioneer in TNID (Telephone Number ID), a blockchain solution that restores trust in communications. Noah is founder and CEO of TSG Global, Inc. which provides voice, messaging and identity management services for SaaS companies and large enterprises. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to commentary@breakfast.media. The views reflected in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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Jay Anderson: Is Texas the New Home for Robust Internet Access?

Cost of doing business is driving companies into markets with favorable tax rates and fewer regulations. Here’s how they’re prioritizing.

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The author of this Expert Opinion is Jay Anderson, chief technology officer, FiberLight

It is hard to ignore how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives––namely, how we work and live. Many people emerged from the pandemic with a request to employers: Continue to allow flexible work arrangements. Thanks to digital transformations across industries, Americans are embracing flexible work arrangements, and they want more of it.

In fact, according to McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey, 58 percent of U.S. job holders—equivalent to 92 million people—report that their employers are still offering the option to work from home for all or part of the week. The survey also showed that when given the opportunity to work flexibly, 87 percent of workers embrace it.

Because of the shift toward remote work, people are relocating to cities that better suit their needs. New data by Upwork reports that 2.4 percent of Americans–– about 5 million people––have relocated since 2020. And, 9.3 percent of Americans––around 20 million people––are planning to relocate.

Companies also are considering relocation. According to FiberLight’s 2022 Business Relocation Expansion Survey, 70 percent of IT and corporate decision makers say they are considering relocating their business or adding more locations within the next 3-5 years. Executives cited market saturation and availability, followed by the expense of doing business in major metropolitan areas, and expanding their operations, as factors driving the change.

Notably, of these respondents, 78 percent said they are considering relocating their business to Texas. Why Texas? Texas offers several advantages including a lower cost of living, favorable tax rates, and fewer regulations. Ranking high on the list of Texas cities decision makers are considering for relocation include: Dallas / Ft. Worth, Austin, and San Antonio, in that order. Decision makers also are considering a host of more rural Texas markets including El Paso, Arlington, Corpus Christi, Plano, Lubbock, Irving, Laredo, Frisco, Garland, Brownsville, Amarillo, McKinney, and others.

Yet businesses will need faster, more robust connectivity in order to execute their business strategies.

Executives surveyed said that they are planning, primarily, for Hybrid and Cloud infrastructure models. Their biggest priorities for connectivity upgrades include 1) Speed / Low Latency, 2) Security, and Diverse Connections.

Executives also said that they are prioritizing the following local infrastructure needs:

Data center access (29% of respondents): What today’s data center requires

The new data center requires an infrastructure that can provide rapid, secure data transmission through reliable, scalable, high-capacity bandwidth that meets the processing demands of next-generation technologies like blockchain systems. Many blockchain data centers are cropping up in rural areas of Texas; however, sourcing reliable connectivity to the internet can be challenging.

Public sector (22% of respondents): A broadband for all advocate for rural America

Public sector teams are critically important to finding solutions that deliver next-generation technology to underserved rural areas. By raising awareness of the need for broadband for all, connecting communities to funds and resources, and establishing partnerships, public sector teams can help municipalities, schools, and businesses access the networks that will help them to grow and scale into the future.

Cloud migration (20% of respondents): Key factors to consider

For enterprises choosing to migrate operations and workloads to the cloud, robust and secure fiber connectivity within a mission-critical colocation facility is a must. Choosing the right data center with the best connection to the cloud is half the battle. Organizations must also ensure there is fiber network infrastructure that’s scalable and reliable providing interconnectivity between their locations and their chosen data centers.

Dedicated internet access (15% of respondents): The path to increased uptime, speed, and reliability

Enterprises of all sizes can benefit from choosing Dedicated Internet Access (DIA)––a private or fully dedicated connection between the internet and the customer. Enterprises, data centers, government institutions, and many more businesses today require a fully dedicated connection allowing large amounts of data to be transferred at faster speeds in order to keep pace with their business needs.

Dark fiber (12% of respondents): A cost effective network strategy to future-proof businesses

Dark fiber holds a lot of potential to rejuvenate the capabilities of businesses across many key vertical industries, including healthcare, finance, education, and beyond. This network strategy effectively future-proofs businesses, empowering them with the ability to cost effectively meet the growing needs of their end-users with bolstered bandwidth, reduced latency, and more.

Post-pandemic relocations are igniting digital transformation and highlighting the core infrastructure requirements to support business expansion. It will be exciting to see how rural areas around our country will begin to flourish as a result.

Jay Anderson is chief technology officer of FiberLight, a fiber infrastructure provider with more than 20 years of experience building and operating mission-critical, high-bandwidth networks. As CTO, he is responsible for evolving FiberLight’s infrastructure and technical capabilities to ensure the company can respond quickly to the changing digital ecosystem needs of its customers. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to commentary@breakfast.media. The views reflected in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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