Would I buy a bicycle without wheels?

LTE is not only about mobility but really… would you invest in a bicycle without wheels?

Bicycle without wheels

With the global interest in LTE and its various standards, one would have to live under a rock to not be exposed to some of the growing content and significant press visibility.  Of course, there is the main commercial version of the standard, designed to help carriers to offer better and faster service to user devices (called User Equipment in the LTE space or UE’s).  In addition to the commercial LTE, there is also a significant movement with PRIVATE INDUSTRIAL LTE.  Various flavors of the standard such as LTE NB IoT, M, U…   each of these standards is designed to target a specific market or use case.  The initial LTE train, targeting consumers connectivity, has left the station and keeps on going.  Other LTE trains (additional variant such as LTE NB IOT) are also leaving the station and rapidly picking up speed.

There are many things that are very interesting about LTE that do not get as much visibility to the public, however critical, to a Telecom Manager/Director.  One needs to dig pass the press and marketing, to better understand some of the additional benefits of truly private LTE.  A good example of this are the following points that should be considered table stakes, but are carefully ignored by some of the manufacturers that elect to cut corners to be quicker to market or not really interested in the purity of having a true standard based solution.   You will recall WiMAX, where many manufacturers purposely elect to not meet 100% of the standard as they were trying to avoid true interoperability and keep their client’s captive.   Here is some example in today’s LTE space.

LTE = Mobility:   …  so, should the solution not come with wheels?

Why would you even consider an LTE solution that would not deliver to you real mobility?  LTE delivers mobility and it is one of the great value it offers.  So even if some UE’s will be installed in fix sites, not all your UE’s will be at fix sites.   And what happens when you need mobility and it was not part of the product delivery plan?  When choosing an LTE infrastructure manufacturer/partner, one needs to remember that one will eventually need mobility and it needs to be part of the initial design, so why not deliver it now.  If not available now… should you not wonder why not?    Would you buy a bicycle from brand X and believe that they will have the wheels as an option one day?  It just does not make sense.  Think about it and ask yourself if you are not falling into a quasi-standard environment.

It is important to realize that an LTE solution that does not include mobility can still have an LTE wave-form, may still be able to talk to some standard remote devices (UE’s) but will be extremely limiting for long term.   One of the biggest challenges in building private LTE networks as a WISP, O&G, Mining, Military, Public Safety, and others, is to have the ability to have mobile devices on the same network, whenever they are needed.    To have mobility one needs to have a complete EPC CORE, not just selective bits of it.  The EPC CORE is the brain begin any LTE solution.   A complete Core will allow you to do mobility, frequency re-use of ONE, deliver any fix/mobile applications your customer may want tomorrow and will ensure you are truly standards-based.

So, you decided to build a Private LTE network for your company to enable connectivity to your customers (internal or external).  You are not building it for just one year, but for the long term.

Ask yourself …  Would I buy a bicycle without wheels?

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