It’s human nature to want to maximize our capacity, no
matter what shape it takes. This can mean the amount of furniture in our homes,
the amount of money in our bank accounts and the amount of time we have
available for both work and personal use. We’re always dealing with a capacity issue, in
one form or another.
This same challenge applies to the data center. The ongoing
capacity crunch is considered to be one of the biggest issues keeping data
center managers awake at night. I’m referring to capacity questions such as:
how much power do I have left for expansion? How much availability do I have in
physical space and racks? How much capacity am I wasting with stranded/unused servers
or switch ports? If my data center runs into a wall, and I’m about to run out
of capacity, what are the best available options?
One of the more recent developments in the wireless industry is deploying “small cells” to provide coverage and capacity both indoors and out. Small cell solutions are touted for their ability to achieve higher radio density and increase capacity. But what exactly is a small cell?
The Small Cell Forum offers a definition that is often cited in the industry. It can also be a little confusing. It defines small cells as an “umbrella term for operator-controlled, low-powered radio access nodes, including those that operate in licensed spectrum and unlicensed carrier-grade Wi-Fi.”
This blog is the next
installment of a six-part series discussing data center challenges and solutions.
In my previous post, we looked at the importance of data storage
and management under the Internet of Things (IoT) evolution, as well as discussing how modular data centers can support IoT applications. With the
increased efforts towards “greening” the data centers, the efficiency and power usage effectiveness (PUE) of these data centers will likely be a
prime consideration in the future.
There is an old saying, "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will start treating all your problems like a nail.” This quote dates back to 1964 and Abraham Kaplan, whose first wording was actually, "Give a small boy a hammer and he will find that everything he encounters needs a pounding." Abraham Maslow modified it in 1966 to, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail," which is why we commonly refer to the concept as “Maslow's Hammer” in reference to over-reliance on a familiar tool.
If you are lucky enough to be the parent, aunt, uncle or other relative or friend of a small boy with a runaway hammer - you can probably relate!
After several years of hearing “they’re coming,” outdoor small cells are now being deployed. Bigger variants are sometimes referred to as “mini macros” and even larger, concealed macro cells are entering the fray—all in an effort to satisfy mobile users’ insatiable appetite for bandwidth. Deploying any sized site in suburban or urban areas has its set of challenges, however. The ability to get permits is high on that list.
Effective equipment concealment offers the best chance of getting a site permitted as smoothly as possible. But what does that entail? Before getting my thoughts, test your knowledge with this interactive Metro Cell Best Practice Guide quiz. In the process, you'll get tips for a successful densification strategy.
There is a great deal of talk about 5G holding the key to solving all of the technical obstacles the industry is currently facing in meeting data demand and the new use cases expected for the next generation of mobile broadband technology. Yet, amidst the industry chatter, the primary question that goes unanswered lies in whether or not 5G will truly be an ‘end all, be all’ solution for the wireless industry.
In 2014, 4G Americas published fifteen technology recommendations for 5G. Being a pragmatic technologist, I realize that solving challenges in wireless connectivity will take more than just recommendations for what 5G should offer. The industry will need robust technology innovation as well as more spectrum for 5G to be the success that many pundits are predicting.
The pressures that are forcing Australian mobile operators to modernize their LTE networks were the topic of my last blog. Mobile broadband usage in the country is expected to quadruple by 2017, but operators have a limited budget for upgrading existing networks for the expected demand. Some are switching off 2G with increased 4G capacity as a significant factor.
This is why I’m going to talk in a bit more detail about how operators can add a better and more efficient upgrade path. Firstly, we need to remind ourselves that adding an LTE network onto existing 3G (or even 2G) infrastructure is complicated. 3G is a voice system, while LTE is mainly a data network. Then, we need to think about different equipment selection, installation practices and environmental considerations, and we need to make sure that subscribers aren’t affected by the upgrade.
Not many engineers write novels. One of the few who does, Nick Arvin, wrote, “At root, both engineering and writing are disciplines of combining small things (pieces of steel, or words) to assemble a larger, more pleasing and useful thing (a cruise ship or “Moby Dick”).” For this blog post, we could replace cruise ship with a cell site.
When using Google recently, I came across this hilarious description of an engineer’s approach to writing (When engineers write). It inspired and assisted me with this post’s title.
It has been roughly 50 years since Charles Kao and his
associates published their pioneering research on optical fiber communications,
which ultimately led to Kao receiving the Nobel
Prize in Physics in 2009.
Since then, fiber optics have found their way into nearly
every facet of communications including transmission fibers used in undersea,
terrestrial, metro and local area networks (LAN), to specialty fibers used in
amplifiers, lasers, sensors and more.
Broadband and cable operators need to evolve their network architectures to keep up with their subscribers’ data demands. One way to do that is to push fiber deeper into a network. However, the cost of building and/or reconstructing a network creates the biggest challenge for them.
How can operators meet today’s infrastructure needs, creating a path for new growth, while reducing construction costs down the road? Deploy microducts.