What Problems Could the Connected Car Cause Cell Phone Towers?

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Last week at the PCIA’s 2013 Wireless Infrastructure Show, the Connected Car was a topic of discussion. As the wireless industry continues to expand, industry leaders are looking for new ways to bring wireless technology to every aspect of our lives including time spent in the car. It’s not news that people enjoy using their phones in the car. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that, “31% of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 reported that they had read or sent text messages or email messages while driving at least once within the 30 days before they were surveyed.”

Many wireless carriers such as AT&T and Verizon, along with many insurance companies, have started campaigns to urge people to not text and drive. The Connected Car aims to lower the rate of texting and driving while bringing you access to more wireless technology while you are in your car. Iain Gillott of iGR discussed the features of the Connected Car in a webinar yesterday.
The Connected Car would have a built-in LTE connection to the macro network that can connect to a Wi-Fi hotspot that is within the vehicle. Passengers will be able to access a wireless signal over the LTE connection. Gillott noted that, “We spend a lot of time in our cars as a society.” He says in the webinar that approximately 20% of Americans spend more than 60 minutes per day in the car.
While having access to technology like this on the road seems like a fantastic idea, what will it do to our networks and macro sites? “In-car data use increases bandwidth demand at peak network times and it adds to the network congestion problem,” Gillott explains.

Because the vehicle is moving, small cells will not work for cars so our macro networks will become congested. This is a challenged that supporters of the Connected Car face. Although this new technology is an opportunity for our mobile network infrastructure to grow, it’s not always easily achieved. It’s possible that our networks will be slow and over-capacity because of the Connected Car before more cell sites can be built to accommodate the influx in demand

October 16, 2013 |
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