We Expect To See the Peak of 5G In 2023, Says Ranplan Wireless CEO

Mar 25

“With respect to rollouts, what we expect, and there has been a lot of trials going on and a lot of demonstrations going on, but the initial trials were in-building last year,” says Alastair Williamson, CEO of Ranplan Wireless. “We expect these to accelerate in 2019 and we expect to see the peak of 5G coming through in about 2023.”

Alastair Williamson, CEO of Ranplan Wireless, discusses the complex challenges of rolling out 5G in an interview with RCR Wireless News:

We Expect To See the Peak of 5G In 2023

5G was the main theme in Mobile World Congress 2019. That was not just with operators, but also with vendors. Let’s put it into perspective from where we come from and look at the 5G themes with respect to wireless network planning. What’s become apparent is that all the initial deployments in 5G are going to be within buildings and in dense urban areas, which is a key focus for Ranplan.

Our tool is designed for planning and building wireless networks in conjunction with outdoor urban environments. With respect to rollouts, what we expect, and there has been a lot of trials going on and a lot of demonstrations going on, but the initial trials were in-building last year. We expect these to accelerate in 2019 and we expect to see the peak of 5G coming through in about 2023.

Complex Challenges to a 5G Rollout

Just to focus on the Japanese opportunity, we did secure a large order in Japan through our reseller early this year. The main challenges that operators are going to face when it comes to rolling out 5G networks can really be split into two different categories. The first challenge is 5G is complex. There is new feature functionality that is being brought into 5G such as beamforming and massive MIMO. These are all new capabilities that the planning tool has to cope with. We’ve invested a lot of money in 2018 to get our tool 5G ready so we’re compliant with all the 5G NR standards. We can actually demonstrate that capability now and customers are actually using our tool now to deploy trial 5G networks.

The second complexity that our customers taught us about is how to plan networks in the millimeter wave space, so 28 gigahertz and above. Radio waves interact very differently the higher spectrums compared with traditional lower spectrums that mobile networks have been deployed in, so at Ranplan we’ve developed a propagation engine and that allows you to propagate all the way up to about 60 gigahertz. We’re way into the millimeter wave space. From a propagation perspective, we can support these high frequencies. We’ve also done a lot of work on understanding how those radio waves interact with different materials such as concrete, brick, wood, trees, people, and water. We’ve done all of that investigative research and we’ve put that information into our tool to allow us to actually predict very accurate 5G planning.

More 5G Focus on Public Safety and Industrial IoT Markets

We repositioned our products a bit at Mobile World Congress to specifically fit to specific markets. Ranplan Professional is still our flagship products allows you to design in-building wireless networks in conjunction with dense urban outdoor wireless networks. But we also launched a new product called Ranplan In-Building where we’ve taken the outdoor capability away from it and it focuses solely on customers who just want to design and plan in-building. wireless networks. We also launched another product called Ranplan In-Building Light which is focusing on the public safety market. We took a lot of the feature functionality that was not required for public Safety and put in new feature functionality that the public safety market demands and we launched that product at Mobile World Congress 2019.

Our plans for 2019 I split that into two separate areas with a look at the business first and then the market. In 2018 we doubled our revenues from 2017. In 2019, we’ve already received purchase orders which are in excess of our total 2018 revenue. From a business perspective it is about keeping that momentum going. From a market perspective, a lot of our focus has been in Japan, the US, South Korea, and Asia-Pac We’re going to continue that focus but we’re also going to put a lot more focus onto public safety and a lot more focus on the Industrial Internet of Things. There’s a real pent up demand in those markets to look at a planning tool to help roll these networks out.

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