Tuesday, November 29, 2011

10 Biggest Obstacles in Mobile Communications

As the world goes more wireless by the day, the need for a strong, reliable and seamless nationwide network seems more critical than ever for the future of communications in America. Yet for all of the eggs we place in this wireless basket, there are some formidable roadblocks in the way of our getting there. In this article, we will examine the ten biggest obstacles in mobile communications:
  1. No Standardized Technology – You can’t expect harmony when everyone in the chorus is singing a different tune. Independent service providers have invested in different technologies, which creates additional cost to device manufacturers and software developers, as well as a barrier to creating a seamless nationwide network.
  2. Bandwidth – Even if all the players could agree on a standard platform, there is the matter of ever-increasing demands on available spectrum. Consumers are using bandwidth-gulping apps, video and data services at a pace that will soon stretch existing bandwidth to its limits.
  3. Demand – The smart phone is expected to eclipse the PC in sales by Q1 2012. This is indicative of a far greater demand for wireless services in the near future, as more consumers switch from feature phones to app-capable smart phones.
  4. Security / Privacy – Another obstacle to total wireless interconnectivity, for consumers and e-businesses is the security of their connections. Carriers need to agree upon standardized protocols to ensure the security and privacy of wireless transmissions across networks.
  5. Topography – Mountainous areas, and terrain where installing towers is impractical will continue to pose a challenge to having 100% network coverage.
  6. Structural Restrictions to Signal – Consumers will expect service wherever they take their handsets as they move away from the PC and go mobile. Interior locations – basements, metal-framed buildings as are often the case in the workplace, inhibit wireless signals.
  7. Device Compatibility – Handheld wireless device manufacturers would have to settle on a platform, or create a network protocol that works across all the varied platforms (Android/ iOS/ Blackberry; LTE/Wimax, etc.) in order for all consumer devices to have full functionality throughout the network.
  8. Roaming Agreements – Currently, mobile service providers have roaming agreements in place which provide a significant revenue stream. A disincentive to the practice would be needed, and likely an alternative revenue source, before a roaming-free nationwide network would be possible.
  9. Digital Literacy – As addressed in the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, a significant segment of the population would require training in order to adapt to wireless communication.
  10. Cost – Although the federal government has set aside stimulus funds to assist in the transition to broadband wireless, it would still take private funding, and significant investment by businesses for such things as infrastructure, web design, equipment and software purchases.

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