Notes on Design and Deployment of Wireless Infrastructure Systems.

Most recent news regarding wireless infrastructure has been about deployment of 4G (WiMAX and LTE) systems. Although this upgrade to wireless networks is progressing, it is still limited to the largest markets, with many big cities still not yet developed, despite the messages delivered in the advertising of the major wireless providers. 3G systems are more common, with coverage to all populated areas. However, some of these areas are underserved and unless located along interstate highways, many rural areas have service that is best characterized as “voice only” or “slow 3G data”. Cost of new equipment is certainly a factor in the speed of buildout of 4G wireless systems—for both wireless company investment and consumer purchase of advanced devices and upgraded service plans. However, technical issues are a bog factor, too. The design of base station radios, antenna systems, portable devices, and system routing/switching equipment is very different when an individual connection is expected to pass data at megabit rates instead of kilobits. In addition, higher data rates bring new uses beyond voice, text and the occasional photo. Equipment back end processing must also be upgraded to support these new services and applications.