Wireless Broadband's Big Appetites

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It is good news that the bad news is not all that bad. There will not be a spectrum crunch. But there is one now. The possibilities have not been realized.

The Spectrum Crunch that Never Really Was
Cisco estimates that mobile data traffic will grow by a factor of 18 by 2016, and Bell Labs predicts it will increase by a factor of 25..... when wireless networks are overloaded, the real culprit may be inefficient use of existing spectrum rather than a fundamental shortage. ..... "We don’t have a spectrum crunch so much as we have a spectrum policy crunch .... The so-called ‘spectrum crunch’ really reflects artificial spectrum scarcity" ..... “The challenge now is to extend those proven successes to enable wider-area broadband access using other underutilized portions of the spectrum.” ... such strategies could increase wireless capacity by thousands of times...... half the new demand through 2015 would be handled by small cells—Wi-Fi plus cells handling frequencies used by 3G and 4G networks ...... it might be possible to increase capacity tenfold even without spectrum sharing. ..... rigid regulations don’t allow the use of flexible new technologies like cognitive radio ...... “Right now, we have a 15- to 20-year backlog of new technologies and architectures, including sharing and small cells, which can take us a long way into the future.”
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