They said it, we said it, now we’ll say it again: The shutdown of the Nextel National Network is happening at the end of this month. Are you ready with another wireless communication solution to replace Nextel push-to-talk phones?
We’ve known for years that the Nextel National Network, which is based on iDEN technology inadequate to meet the data needs of modern smartphones, was on its way out. Sprint, which now owns the network, announced the shutdown in late 2010. Later it set the date: June 30, 2013. Earlier this month, Sprint laid out the plan down to the minute.
In a news release, the company said, “Sprint remains on schedule to decommission the iDEN Nextel National Network beginning at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time on June 30. iDEN devices will then no longer receive voice service—including 911 calls and push-to-talk—or data service. Sprint will shut down switch locations in rapid succession on June 30, followed by powering down equipment and eliminating backhaul at each cell site. The last full day of iDEN service for active users will be June 29.”
Despite the months of warnings about the shutdown, there have been indications that many users were slow to explore their options and secure new service. With this in mind, BearCom last month issued a white paper, Considering All the Options for Replacing Nextel Push-to-Talk Communications Services. In it, BearCom reminds organizations impacted by the shutdown that they have choices from among several push-to-talk phone systems but can consider two-way radios as well. It describes how two-way radios are an attractive alternative to phones in many applications.
The paper said, “Motorola Solutions, the industry leader, offers a huge selection of two-way radios, led by its MOTOTRBO digital line. Motorola MOTOTRBO eliminates the limitations imposed by the Nextel network on the number of talk groups and the number of users in a talk group. Also eliminated are service-level issues caused by networks that get overloaded with users during peak usage times. And with Motorola, there are no concerns about which devices have push-to-talk capability. They all do.”
Of course, rival phone companies are eager to sign up Nextel customers. This month, AT&T announced it plans to offer push-to-talk capabilities on the Apple iPhone. Naturally, Sprint is urging customers to stick with its new nationwide network. Meanwhile, what will happen to the old network? Sprint says it will recycle nearly all the iDEN network equipment that it can’t use. That’s more than 100 million pounds of antennas, radios, server racks, cables, batteries, and air-conditioners. Even the concrete shelters used to house the equipment will be reused as composite for roads and bridges. Sprint says that with 30,000 iDEN installations to take down, it will be next year before the process is complete. Nextel users, of course, need to get moving much sooner.
Meg A. Hertz (a.k.a. Wireless Woman) is Virtual Chief Technology Officer for BearCom.
Many hotel guests complain about poor connectivity in their rooms. Experts might conclude that the 2.4 GHz band is saturated and unusable. In dense urban centers, we often hear about “RF pollution,” a term used to describe what happens when there are too many 2.4 GHz signals in the area. The excess 2.4 GHz signals prevent hotel guests from accessing the network using their tablet or smartphone.
Before jumping on board with this simple explanation, let’s take a look at some real world RF data collected outside a hotel in midtown Manhattan, New York City.
This first graph shows Wi-Fi signals captured outside the hotel. Note the high “average” signal level across all channels. This is a classic case of 2.4 GHz RF pollution, and yes, folks, it stinks.
Next, let’s look at the same graph, from inside a room of the same hotel.
Does it look different? You bet it does. Note that very little of the outside energy penetrates the walls and coated windows. This particular hotel alternated every AP onto a sequential channel, from one to 11. This is not good RF design and should be corrected. Much of the supposed “RF pollution” arises from this poor channel allocation scheme.
Next, let’s take a look at the access points seen by the sample room in this hotel. See something you don’t like? I do. The top seven access points are all on interfering channels. It’s no wonder this network is suffering from RF pollution. When one AP is transmitting on an overlapping channel, other APs cannot see a full 802.11 frame. They only see signals interference. This effect largely renders the collision avoidance protocols ineffective. Very often, the issue with the poor connectivity can be traced to poor placement of APs and improper configuration.
But is that really the issue? Very often, the issue with the poor connectivity can be traced to poor placement of APs and less dense deployment.
One Possible Solution to the Problem
If you are having complaints about guest tablets and smartphones failing to connect, get a meaningful site scan done first. You may find an obvious configuration error, such as shown above. Second, you may want to try putting a single radio AP inside the guest rooms. This has two very obvious advantages over APs installed in the hallway ceilings:
Sixteen years ago, when the 802.11 protocols were being written, Ethernet hubs were just beginning to be replaced by Ethernet switches. The 802.11 protocol designers did a good job of including the necessary collision avoidance algorithms. Over time, these protocols have gotten much better at dealing with interference and packet collisions in the RF spectrum.
Before you run out and spend extra money on dual radio APs, first conduct a proper site scan and identify the real source of the problem. You may be pleasantly surprised at how simple the problem is to fix. Stay tuned for more blog entries on this and similar topics.
Don’t forget to stop by booth 1053 at HITEC in Minneapolis, June 25-27 where we’ll be demonstrating our wireless and networking solutions for hotels, and follow us on Twitter for updates at http://twitter.com/MotoSolutions.
Daran Hermans is Senior Product Manager, Enterprise Networks and Communications for Motorola Solutions.
Learn more at http://www.motorolasolutions.com/EasyWiFi.
Even to the casual observer, it's clear that mobile devices are changing the way enterprises do business. Many of you can identify examples of mobile device use where none existed in the past. Organization of all kinds – retailers, manufacturers, transportation companies, car rental companies, healthcare providers – have built new business processes where mobile devices and the applications they support play a critical role in their delivery of service to their end customers.
This observation is not just anecdotal. In its 2013 Digital IQ Survey, PWC notes that "top performers are not only more aggressively investing in mobile technologies for customers this year — they are also much more significantly using mobile to interact with customers compared to other respondents."
As we spend time with companies in these varied lines of business, it's clear that the trend of deploying mobile device technologies and mobilizing business-critical processes is growing. The number of ideas that turn into pilots and new strategic programs is exciting. To enable these programs, organizations are considering an expansion of their mobile device portfolios, reviewing their current capabilities, integrating technologies more deeply into business processes and seeking ways to measure and ensure success of those programs. An important component of enabling these strategies is improving the performance and availability – the predictability – of the business-critical mobile device environment that supports the program. Depending on variables like the number of devices deployed, mix of devices, locations served, number of users, number of device configurations, operational environment and a host of other factors, this can be a complex task and can easily overwhelm an organization that lacks tools, process, and logistical resources to effectively manage a mobile device implementation.
For top performers, a successful mobile-device strategy needs to include a plan for maintaining the operational readiness of complex mobile-device environments. That demands a new type of thinking and a new type of innovation that recognizes holistic management as an essential tool to realizing the full return of your mobile-device investment.
Randall Martin is Senior Manager, Device and Asset Management Services, Global Solutions and Services for Motorola Solutions.
Learn more about Mobility Lifecycle Management from Motorola Solutions.
116, 24, 72 - What might these three seemingly random numbers have in common? They all relate to a phenomenon that's revolutionizing interactions in enterprise environments: the continued incorporation of mobile-device-based applications in a wide and varied array of business processes and tasks. There is a logical reason for this trend – it saves enterprises time and money, and it makes customers happy.
According to Gartner, 116 million tablets were shipped in 2012. This number speaks to the direction that mobility is taking. Tablets are portable, powerful, and with a wide range of applications available have quickly become the device of choice for many consumers. Tablets also have a strong influence on the enterprise, with many deploying consumer tablets in customer-facing environments because of consumer familiarity and the wide range of applications they are able to support. It is not a stretch to say that the tablets, along with their mobile brethren, the smartphone, are creating a whole new platform for service innovation.
While the number and types of mobile devices making their presence felt in the enterprise are increasing, there is still a lag in the level of preparedness for all that mobility brings in terms of strategy, governance and operational process. According to CompTIA, only 24 percent of the companies surveyed in their Second Annual Trends in Enterprise Mobility Survey acknowledged currently having a Mobility policy. This points to the fact that changes in mobile technology and its uses are outpacing the ability of many organizations to establish and adopt the policies necessary to ensure that they are able to reap the full benefits of investments they are making in mobility.
To their credit, many organizations realize that they need to address their mobile device issues. In its 2012 Mobility Study, IDG Enterprise said 72 percent of companies with a population of more than 1,000 employees indicated they expected to see a growth in budget allocations to enterprise mobility solutions. Clearly the need for investment is recognized by most organizations.
What remains to be seen is how organizations approach the problem of managing mobility and specifically, managing the complex device environments being contemplated or deployed to support new business processes and initiatives. Managing mobility requires investment. And now that many organizations are following a path that leads to a mix of consumer and rugged devices, the need for effective strategies to deal with business-critical mobile device environments will continue to grow.
116, 24, 72 may seem like a random collection of numbers, but they’re evidence of a single growing issue – what to do about managing mobility.
Richard Orgias is Senior Manager for Managed Services at Motorola Solutions, Inc.
Read additional blogs by Richard Orgias.
Visit our website to explore Managed Services from Motorola Solutions.
The need for mobility spans the entire spectrum of enterprise operations. It's gone from a "nice-to-have" option to a critical business requirement. From the front office to the distribution center and all points in between, industrial mobile technology creates the foundation on which successful, profitable businesses are now built.
Today, manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, logistics providers—and virtually every other link in the supply chain—are taking a hard look at their current communications capabilities. Investing in the right mobile solutions now can be a significant competitive differentiator as operational environments become larger, more complex and more reliant on operations-critical, real-time information.
With technology evolving at a rapid pace, how do you evaluate which mobile solutions will best meet the current needs of your business and scale to meet future demands? Determining the ideal fit of technology to business goals, worker and function is an important part of the mobility equation and ultimately impacts your total cost of ownership (TCO). Effective solutions pair a high-performance, purpose-built WLAN with the most appropriate handheld, wearable or vehicle-mounted device to meet workflow and data capture requirements.
Today's industrial mobile solutions are designed to meet the rigorous demands of all industries but particularly those where real-time inventory and asset visibility, connectivity, control, accountability, customer loyalty, faster customer response times and higher profitability matter.
Do you have the right devices for the right jobs?
Mark Wheeler is the Director of Supply Chain Solutions - North America for Motorola Solutions.
Read this article in full to learn more about wireless mobility and how mobile technology can transform the warehouse.
Learn more about Motorola’s warehouse solutions.
If you're like most hoteliers, you're realizing that yesterday's networks — implemented primarily for laptop PCs — are ill equipped to meet today’s skyrocketing demands for conference connectivity. Guests are carrying more mobile devices that have more applications that are consuming more bandwidth, and hotel employees are more reliant on technology to provide outstanding service. This trifecta of forces is vying for your network, causing a less than desirable outcome. Fall short of providing your guests a fast, fluid Internet experience, and you risk losing their business and loyalty. In fact, Wi-Fi is so critical to guests’ satisfaction that 90% of them rank it their top amenity of choice.
As the pressures continue to grow, the question is not if you should upgrade to Wi-Fi, but how. Clearly, you need to gain a return on your investment. By considering your design criteria, you’ll be better prepared to do so. Here are a just few questions to get you started.
For a more in-depth look at design criteria, I encourage you to watch the webinar, Wi-Fi & the Bottom Line. This will offer you key insights on how to ensure your network is robust.
The good news is that you can leverage a strong, reliable wireless network to generate revenue and recoup costs. A 2010 YPartnership iTraveler study found that four out of ten iTravelers would agree to variable pricing based on Internet speed and usage. Even customization options can create a revenue opportunity.
In the end, you’ll find that you can’t afford to do without such a crucial component to guest satisfaction. For more information about the importance of wireless access in meeting and conference areas, please read the white paper, “Meeting Space Connectivity.” Or visit Motorola Solutions’ suite of hospitality solutions.
Tom Moore leads Motorola Solutions’ go-to-market strategy and direction for the hospitality and healthcare industries.