Verizon approves CommScope's ION-E for in-building wireless coverage

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has certified CommScope's ION-E in-building wireless solution so it can be installed in enterprises across Verizon's wireless footprint in the United States.

ION-E was designed to help service providers like Verizon enhance how they provide wireless services to business customers.

Like consumers, business users also expect that they can get access to ubiquitous mobile services regardless if they are in or outside of a business building.

"It's impossible to go anywhere in the world where you don't have at least decent mobility coverage and certainly in the U.S. we see this high quality ubiquitous LTE experience that's enabling a profound mobile experience across the world," said Philip Sorrells, VP of strategic marketing for CommScope, in an interview with FierceInstaller. "I think there's one last great frontier where wireless mobility needs to be integrated into the ecosystem and that last frontier has to do with the enterprise building space."

While Verizon and other wireless operators have various methods to improve in-building wireless coverage, CommScope estimates about only two percent of the world's nearly 30 billion square meters of real estate is covered with inside solutions. This means it has plenty of opportunities to grow this product set.

So what has prevented wireless operators from penetrating more in-building opportunities?

Up until now, one of the key challenges for large wireless operators like Verizon when outfitting more buildings with wireless was that there wasn't a big enough business case to justify the expense.

"Fundamentally, the challenge there is it has historically been too small for the large operators to really want to invest themselves, so you need a platform that facilitated the building owner to see the value proposition in and of themselves and push forward an investment package themselves," Sorrells said. "In order to do that the technology needed to be greatly simplified."

Unlike a large stadium that can justify having a large third-party staff to oversee it, the key element of ION-E is that it can alleviate installation pain, particularly for a businesses' IT staff.

By leveraging a fiber- and Ethernet-based structured cabling architecture, an IT staff, which typically lacks RF experience, can deploy the equipment themselves. CommScope also offers complementary professional site and related pre-insallation services via a host of partners that reside in a number of large U.S.-based cities.

"When you move into the enterprise space, your technology platform needs to be simple enough that the guy who runs your IT department can run your system, and that guy nine times out of ten is not an RF guy," Sorrells said. "That guy does not understand the ins and outs of radio parameter settings so you needed an architecture that was simple enough for an IT guy to do it and ... that looked and felt like a traditional IT organization would be used to, like an equipment closet and structured cabling."

Being a future-proofed solution, the ION-E can support a mix of 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE frequency bands in one unified platform. It can also scale to support from 5,000 to 500,000 square meters and eliminates the need for expensive infrastructure and equipment upgrades.

While Verizon declined to comment, the service provider is moving to integrate more mobile solutions into its enterprise customer base.

In September, Verizon introduced a new offering for businesses and government users that allows them to prioritize different enterprise and Internet of Things applications called Private Network Traffic Management, for example.

One potential scenario where the in-building system could apply to services like Private Network Traffic Management is that Verizon could bundle in the ION-E system to handle a business customer's wireless traffic.

"Initially, the platform gives Verizon an opportunity to directly go to large enterprise customers and say, 'we have a platform for you or install with you,'" Sorrells said. " On the other side as this platform and others become more normalized, we expect to see more enterprise building owners take more of the initiative."

For more :
- see the release

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