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Wireless Infrastructure:
What to Watch for in 2012

| Dec 8, 2011 | Mobile Access Infrastructure
| Analyst: Ed Gubbins, Senior Analyst, Mobile Access Infrastructure

This year was marked by, among other things, bold introductions by wireless infrastructure vendors of new solutions that embodied innovative departures from previous architectures: Nokia Siemens Networks’ Liquid solutions and Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio technologies may have been, in a sense, previews of 2012, given their commercial availability timelines (end of 2011 for the former and 2012, and beyond, for the latter), but they set forth ambitious concepts that captivated the industry’s attention in 2011. In a similar fashion, many of the events and trends of this year can serve to illuminate what likely awaits in the next. The end of 2011 provides an opportunity to reflect on those trends, map out what to expect in 2012 and consider strategies on how to negotiate that near-term terrain. What follows is a guide to the forces expected to drive the mobile infrastructure sector in 2012 and how best to navigate them.

Not surprisingly, many of next year’s most influential developments are closely related to the rise of LTE deployments, which open new doors for vendors as they lead many operators to consider broad changes to their network architecture – for example, in terms of small cells, heterogenous networks and backhaul. Even trends in the WiMAX world are dictated, perhaps more than anything else, by the pace of LTE’s growth. That pace will jump in 2012 as live LTE networks roughly quadruple, according to estimates from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA). In that respect, next year will carry forward the themes of 2011 but will have its own unique qualities.

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