January 8, 2021

RFS 2021 predictions

As 2021 starts, we speak to the team at RFS to get their take on what the biggest trends will be for the wireless industry in for 2021.

Radio Frequency Systems,

Mobile site solutions must do more with less 

Consolidation is going to be critical in 2021. Space on cell sites is already heavily restricted and the problem is only being exacerbated by increasing demand. To address this problem, operators will need to look to equipment that does much more, in the same or less space. We expect to see a surge in equipment that is much more compact and serves multiple purposes for operators. For example, integrating 5G hardware into 4G solutions to maximize the functionality of the space available. In 2021 they will need an antenna swiss army knife and RF designers need to deliver.

Giampiero Capraro, Global Product Manager, Base Station Antennas

Connectivity everywhere - from in-tunnel to high rise

2020 has been a catalyst for flexible working and 2021 will see operators race to ensure that telecoms infrastructure is robust enough to support the new way people are working and living. Once the pandemic ends, we expect that those that have used the rise of flexibility to move out of cities drive demand for connectivity across rail and metro networks, as they look to make the most of extended commute times. In-tunnel is one of the most challenging environments to install coverage and we expect to see both rail and telecoms network operators double down on ensuring they can support the hugely increased demand for connectivity. 

Tom Kuklo, Global Product Manager, In-Building Solutions

A changing landscape for microwave antennas 

2020 has caused many countries to move away from city centric set-ups with increasing demand for connectivity in suburban and rural environments. In 2021 we expect a huge focus on developing equipment that can support the changing shape of demand for capacity. Microwave technology has taken huge strides forward and can now outstrip fibre on cost, performance and ease of installation when it comes to backhaul, even for 5G. We expect to see microwave equipment take centre stage to support a changing connectivity landscape with demand more scattered than ever before. 

Emmanuel Saint Dizier, VP Microwave Antennas

The dawn of data rich broadcasting

We're already hearing whispers of 5G broadcasting but in 2021 it is NEXTGEN TV that we will see explode; enhancing over the air services and laying a much needed foundation for future 5G broadcasting. Data rich broadcasting services with features like AR and VR, multi-perspective views and UHD are being teased to consumers and there is a huge appetite for them. Getting in place the infrastructure to deliver this will give operators and broadcasters a fantastic opportunity to meet customer demand and see fast return on their significant investment in 5G. 

Nick Wymant, CTO Broadcast

Solutions for new mobile connectivity

The last few years have focused on selling the vision and potential of 5G. 2021 will see a real ramp up in turning that vision into a reality. This means a year of hard work for the telecoms industry as it strives to build, at scale, the infrastructure necessary for real world 5G. Equipment manufacturers must focus on solutions rather than products as they will be on the front line of solving the problems that come hand in hand with the roll out of a new generation of mobile connectivity. RF designers have to focus on solutions that will speed up deployments and reduce the total cost ownership by introducing integrated, modularized and simplified site solutions. They must be both easy to install and at the same time capable of supporting the increased capacity demands of 5G. We expect to see great innovation over the next 12 months with solutions that pre-empt operator needs and build the solid foundation that is needed to make 5G a success. 

Alec Wang, VP Mobile Site Solutions

New year, new priorities for operators

The pandemic has thrown a spotlight on the world’s dependence on telecoms infrastructure and acted as a huge driver for progress and innovation. Next year we will see huge strides forward as operators provide more reliable and greater capacity than ever before. But it’s also been a time to reflect and check priorities and so we anticipate a green revolution over the coming year. Telecoms companies will always pursue technological progress, but we anticipate that balancing this with sustainability will be a much bigger priority. 

Monika Maurer, President & CEO