Fon’s Head of R&D talks about enablers for providing good indoor connectivity

David Valerdi, Head of Research and Development at Fon, addressed the Small Cells World Summit (SCWS) audience in London to discuss the alternatives operators have for improving indoor coverage. David explored several heterogeneous solutions in which WiFi and other wireless technologies may coexist and that are already attempting to address the indoor coverage issue.

Deploying infrastructure for wireless coverage indoors presents a variety of challenges for operators. At the top of that list? Significant investment and costs associated with this type of undertaking. Thus, different technologies and solutions that involved parties (venue owners, service providers, hardware vendors, etc.) will employ in these scenarios must have have a common point: they should be prepared for multi-tenant operation that enables Network as a Service models, such as a neutral host, in which investments and costs can be divided among different entities. With that as a jumping-off point, David’s presentation focused on how WiFi is the perfect first step for neutral host providers.

David cited an Analysys Mason survey of 120 public WiFi deployers that included neutral host providers, telcos/MNOs, venue owners, city authorities, and cloud providers. Based on their findings, they predict between 2016 and 2021 a 32% compound annual growth rate in WiFi hotspots run by neutral hosts, reinforcing the significance of WiFi in this deployment model.

Analysys Mason also predicts that by 2021, the installed base of neutral host hotspots will have overtaken that of shared and roaming hotspots.

Graph showing deployments of public WiFi hotspots by ownership model

Deployments of public WiFi hotspots by ownership model (Analysys Mason)

With this in mind, Fon Labs – the Research and Development Center headed by David, focused on product and technology innovation – is contributing to the evolution of Fon’s WiFi Service Management Solution in order to support neutral host models. Lastly, David detailed several possible deployment options and how Fon can address the unique needs of this ecosystem.

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