January 17, 2013
Research & Analytics...
FAN Growth Means More Orders For More Vendors
Instead of running disparate and discrete networks for each type of equipment across their grids, utilities increasingly are turning to private field area networks (FANs) to deliver advanced apps across common platforms. According to Pike Research, deployments of these networks – specifically in the form of wireless communications nodes using RF mesh, Wi-Fi, WiMAX or LTE technologies – will expand steadily during the next several years after a down period in 2012-13. Revenue from these wireless nodes will surpass $428 million worldwide by 2020, Pike adds. For vendors, this means utilities will be building or enhancing networks using many transport protocols and gear, translating into more business being given to many companies instead of to just a few “one-stop” shops.
Small-Cell Deployment Challenges Continue
Nearly 90 percent of operators surveyed by Infonetics Research plan to backhaul small-cell traffic to nearby macrocell sites via a variety of locations — buildings, streetlights, and traffic and utility poles — and fiber still is the preferred backhaul technology when available and cost-effective. However, non-line-of-sight microwave, standard microwave and millimeter wave will be deployed most often. Small-cell deployment still isn’t easy, with operators facing such challenges as outdoor small-cell gear not being small enough or cheap enough yet, continuing problems with backhauling in dense urban areas and – perhaps most important – precious few viable business models.