Wireless infrastructure plays a crucial role in how businesses, citizens and governments operate in today’s mobile-first world. These networks are critical to everything from education and business to public safety and health care. Wireless networks in the U.S. delivered 42.7 petabytes of data every day in 2016, a figure expected to grow to 200.5 petabytes per day by 2020.
To put that growth in perspective, a similar increase in New York City Subway ridership would see daily traffic grow from 4.8 million riders today to 22.6 million riders per day in 2021. To support this massive growth in usage, today’s wireless networks require robust wireless infrastructure – including well over 100,000 cell towers in the U.S. as of 2016.
In order to better understand the significant economic impact of the wireless infrastructure industry to the U.S., it is necessary to examine the industry’s capital expenditures as well as the flow-through impact of those investments on the general economy. In total, through direct, indirect and induced expenditures resulting from its capital and operating expenditures, the wireless communications tower industry supported approximately $6.8 billion in spending and 32,500 jobs in the U.S. in 2016. Expenditures by the wireless infrastructure industry support a broad network of suppliers of goods and services including equipment suppliers, raw material suppliers, professional services providers, subcontractors, repair and maintenance providers and utilities.
Wireless infrastructure provides the foundation upon which the wireless industry will deliver the applications, services, and jobs that will fuel the U.S. economy for years to come. As the economic importance of ubiquitous broadband grows and as advanced wireless services spread across industries, wireless infrastructure’s role in supporting the U.S. economy’s continuing growth will only expand. Therefore, it is critical for policy makers to continue to support the wireless infrastructure industry through prudent policies.
In addition, for wireless communication of any form, radiofrequency (RF) is the medium. Anyone working in the wireless industry (Cellular, Wi-Fi, DAS and Small Cells) needs to understand RF and how our surroundings affect its behavior. When it comes to modern cellular systems, it is important to understand the numerous technological developments that affect its deployment and the business ecosystem.
Foundational theories of cellular communication are an important, yet often overlooked, domain in today’s wireless world. The Wireless Infrastructure Association’s Telecommunications Education Center offers a wireless fundamentals course that provides the foundation for RF theories that apply to today’s cellular systems. This course is designed to familiarize participants with the practical aspects of wireless communication systems and their industrial applications. Underlying RF engineering principles are discussed. Current industry practices around macro cells are discussed followed by a study of how cell sites are designed, which hardware components are present at a typical cell site, and how RF measurements are used to maintain integrity of a cellular network.
Read “REIT Supported Wireless Infrastructure” for more information.
For wireless education opportunities, visit WIA’s Telecommunications Education Center.