MulteFire deploys LTE solely in the unlicensed 5 GHz band

Solving for in-building cellular connectivity is an increasingly pointed problem for venue owners. In the context of Class A real estate, tenants have to have strong, multi-carrier in-building cellular, but, in many cases, carriers aren’t willing to spend precious capital dollars on a DAS or small cell-based system. This means the venue owner needs to take the wheel, and new technologies like MulteFire, which provides LTE in the unlicensed 5 GHz band, are making this an easier problem to solve.

The MulteFire Alliance is helping drive the technology to market, and has released 1.0 and 1.1 specifications, the latter of which speaks directly to the role of MulteFire in supporting the internet of things. Furthering the development of the ecosystem, Nokia this week announced it would bring to market this year a MulteFire small cell; the next piece of the puzzle is device support.

In a new whitepaper from Harbor Research, the idea of using MulteFire to deploy a neutral host network is described as “a critical and unprecedented enterprise opportunity. Facilitating a seamless user experience while extending value across the ecosystem is the ‘holy grail’ of enterprise networking. As such, private and neutral host LTE with MulteFire should be viewed as a mechanism by which carriers, operators and venue owners connect end users and Enterprise applications more efficiently.”

The whitepaper author gave the example of a neutral host provider deploying a MulteFire-based in-building system at an airport. “In this instance, someone like a Boingo would manage the network and carriers would gain access to the neutral host network as specified under an SLA. MulteFire small cells would replace individual carrier DAS and small cells and in some instance Wi-Fi access points. A combination of Femtocells, Picocells and Microcells can be deployed in various configurations to optimize the delivery of network services across varying environmental layouts.”

Boingo, in addition to being a founding member of the MulteFire Alliance, has been a major proponent of developing the technology. Boingo CTO Derek Peterson sits on the MulteFire Alliance board.



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