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Keeping up with demand for wireless

When we think of the ‘80s, our first thoughts may go to big hair, Pac Man and MTV, or to the revolutionary political changes of that decade: the end of the Cold War, student protests in Tiananmen Square and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

But what would become a much more globally pervasive revolution was also taking place, a revolution that would forever change the way the world communicates. For the first time, mobile phones and computers were being marketed to and used by the middle class. Individually, the mobility of communications and the widespread access to the worldwide web via personal computers were each truly life-changing. Today, the convergence of mobility and broadband Internet access fully enables a digital lifestyle.

According to most telecommunications industry predictions, the technology convergence we’re experiencing today is only the tip of the iceberg.

“By 2015, there are expected to be 5.6 billion mobile devices and 1.5 billion machine-to-machine devices in the world. These devices will include mobile phones, as well as Internet-connected cameras, ‘Net-connected cars, tablets, laptops and more devices,” according to the latest Cisco Visual Networking Index Forecast as reported in a Feb. 1 “CNET News” article.

That same article goes on to point out that 4G wireless providers will need to plan carefully and build their networks for the rapidly growing consumer demand for bigger, better, faster devices and service. Wireless spectrum is believed to the only way to keep up with this demand.

Wireless companies today own spectrum received through various FCC auctions. Clearwire, a provider of wireless broadband services and operator of Clear’s 4G network in the U.S., currently owns more real estate in the 2.5 GHz spectrum band than any other wireless carrier. This band of spectrum is universally allocated for global fourth generation (4G) deployments and has the potential to create one of the world’s most robust ecosystems across billions of devices for accessing the Internet.

The Internet has been at the center of this worldwide communications revolution, and wireless technology will fuel its rapid growth and expansion. A wireless ecosystem has two great advantages: (1) there are no infrastructure start-up or maintenance costs other than the base stations, and (2) it frees users to become mobile, taking Internet use from one dimension to three.

Wireless Internet networks will offer increasingly faster services at vastly lower costs over wider distances, eventually pushing out physical transmission systems. These advantages give wireless broadband access providers a leg up on traditional wireless providers who have antiquated networks built for transmitting and receiving voice.

Today’s faster, more efficient mobile broadband networks are being built to support the next step in the telecommunications evolution: the wireless transmission of data. According to Cisco’s latest Visual Networking Index Forecast, “wireless carriers will see mobile data traffic increase 26 times between 2010 and 2015.” This increase in the transmission of data traffic across wireless networks is why we’re hearing so much about 4G networks today. Wireless companies are tripping over each other to build 4G networks to meet the worldwide demand for more, faster, better, cheaper ways to communicate.

It is a generally held belief that mobile broadband is a revolution that will touch everyone at some future point. It is yet to be seen how open access to the magic of the Internet by anyone, anywhere will impact our society, our economy or the way we view and value our global community. However, we do know advanced technologies that give us the freedom to communicate with the world when and how we want have the potential to change our lives.

This article was contributed by Greg Smith, regional general manager of Clear, with offices at 104 N. Milwaukee in Boise. He can be reached at (208) 323-3560.

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