In Business Model, Internet Access, Mobile, Spectrum

Mobility “broke” some rules about telecom architecture, namely the rule that the public network terminated on the side of a house or in the basement of a building or inside a wiring closet.

In the traditional world of business phone and data systems, the indoor network was private and owned by the tenant. In the mobile model, there generally is no demarcation between the end user and the public network.

The “public network” (service provider wide area, metro and access networks) was one domain. The indoor network was a separate domain.


The exception are those instances where a large venue (sports stadium or shopping mall) might have a third-party-supplied indoor transmission system. In those relatively-few instances, the public network terminates at a gateway supplied by the indoor services provider.

But it is possible matters could evolve, “back to the future,” in some key ways. Enterprises often run cabled networks for their phone and data systems, but also support Wi-Fi for nomadic access or mobile data offload.

But with the emergence of ways to use unlicensed spectrum to operate indoor 4G or 5G mobile networks, plus new Wi-Gig networks that are a direct substitute for cabled networks supporting premises phone or data networks, there are some new opportunities and challenges.

Many enterprises and venues might well find that what they “need” is an integrated wireless, mobile and untethered indoor network, possibly without the need to build and operate such networks directly.

Perhaps new system integrators will emerge that build and operate all indoor wireless infrastructure, including mobile networks (4G and 5G), Wi-Fi and Wi-Gig. In that model, we return to the historic “demarcation point” architecture, with the public networks terminating at the edge of the customer location, while the indoor networks are privately owned and operated.

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