Published on February 5, 2014
Optimizing the indoor experience What happens to connectivity when we enter subways, high-rise buildings and shopping malls? And how can we make networks perform as well inside as they do outside? Increased urbanization means people are spending more time indoors than ever before. This means it is becoming increasingly important to ensure network performance is of a high quality in homes, on transport and at work.
seamless connectivity Network performance is the strongest factor in driving loyalty between users and their operators, and is thus key in the strategy for revenue growth. As most mobile experiences are inside where reliable connectivity can be a challenge, indoor performance will be the next big differentiating factor between operators. Life within walls Today, we spend more time indoors than ever before. For example, many of us live in apartment buildings, take the subway, work in high-rise offices, shop in big malls and go out to bars and restaurants. Our research shows that we spend 90 percent of our lives – or about three quarters of our time awake – indoors. This means that most of our connected services and applications, including those on our mobile devices, are mostly used inside. Users unhappy with performance Since most of our connected life is spent inside, indoor network performance determines many of our user experiences. But consumers are not happy, and our research shows that only 55 percent of users are satisfied with voice quality indoors. Additionally, only 45 percent are satisfied with the coverage and speed of mobile data when they are at home, at work, inside shops or on the subway. There are two main reasons why indoor performance is such a challenge: Blocked signals – to supply indoor connectivity, mobile radio waves need to penetrate concrete floors, glass, walls and other challenging materials to reach your device. The more material the signal needs to penetrate, the weaker it gets. As radio antennas are directional, both upper floors of tall buildings and underground floors/garages suffer from poor coverage due to lack of signal strength. Broken signals – most buildings predominantly use Wi-Fi as a dedicated indoor solution. However it does not provide the performance required for app coverage, and in many cases the indoor connection doesn’t communicate with the 90% of our time is spent indoors outdoor one. So when moving between indoor and outdoor environments, which we do frequently, the connection does not transfer seamlessly and breaks. This means the problem is usually not a lack of coverage as such, but that the different networks and technologies don’t work together to provide a high quality user experience. Mobile browsing Internet consumption has shifted from browsing in one place to using mobile applications and bringing the internet with us wherever we go. This mobility means we can use online services while moving between different indoor and outdoor locations. Some applications, like streaming music and making voice calls, are often used on the move. Others, such as video and games, are generally used when sitting down in one place. Regardless of location, these applications demand seamless indoor and outdoor performance. For example, music streaming is often interrupted when you leave your home Wi-Fi coverage and walk onto the street in the morning. The same problem is experienced with mobile voice calls, which can be disconnected when you enter an office building, subway or elevator. Live video calling quickly shifts from being a fixed activity to a mobile one, requiring both high throughput and low latency. Making video calls in any private or corporate environment demands high performance of both fixed and mobile networks. App coverage is a 3D game There shouldn’t be a compromise anymore – all services must work everywhere. Today, consumers demand that connectivity works all the time and at a high quality – whether it’s for personal or professional reasons. We provide high quality user experiences everywhere through superior app coverage. Generally, being far away from a cell antenna means a weaker signal and a poorer experience. When applying app coverage indoors, we must not only consider the distance from the antenna, but also the density and distribution of building material in between. 2 ERICSSON Optimizing the indoor experience
In reality, app coverage works in three dimensions and vertical coverage is just as important as horizontal. We must also consider quality factors – mobility, throughput and latency. An office plaza – we need secure connectivity for just about everything at work, including voice calls, email, video conferencing, sharing files, using enterprise cloud services, collaborating on documents or simply surfing the web. The next big competition Indoor performance is not just a concern for operators. It will be of equal importance in the competition between commercial property owners. Indoor performance determines the experience of a shopping mall or sports arena. For example it could influence people’s decision to buy something in a specific store, take the bus instead of the subway, or be a key factor in enabling services within high-rise apartments or enterprise buildings. Performance matters most to users in different indoor locations, such as: end-to-end capability The indoor challenge requires a holistic approach to enabling real performance. As the industry leader, Ericsson has the experience, capacity and portfolio to solve it. The subway – we rely on connectivity to access entertainment while on our daily commute, or to catch up on work on the way there. In the near future, we may even need it to enter the subway by using our phones as digital passes. Different solutions are needed depending on the size and complexity of the buildings. In addition, these solutions should work together as one network, across technologies and indoor/outdoor boundaries. Indoor and outdoor cells must be coordinated to complement each other, and Wi-Fi needs to work with existing 3GPP technologies (2G, 3G, LTE). This means only integrated Wi-Fi and 3GPP networks can provide a consistent user experience. These solutions also need to be incorporated across all levels of network architecture – from access to core – and controlled by one integrated network management system. Shopping malls – we use connectivity for many activities such as comparing prices online, sharing what we bought on social networks, and even paying for goods. Shops could also use it to broadcast advertisements and promotions. By understanding the exact requirements of an area, we can optimize the network’s performance, scalability and integration. Our goal is for indoor and outdoor networks to work seamlessly together, providing the user with highquality experiences no matter where they are. We call it Real Performance. www.ericsson.com/real-performance ERICSSON Optimizing the indoor experience 3
Ericsson is a world-leading provider of telecommunications equipment and services to mobile and fixed network operators. Over 1,000 networks in more than 180 countries use our network equipment, and more than 40 percent of the world’s mobile traffic passes through Ericsson networks. We are one of the few companies worldwide that can offer endto-end solutions for all major mobile communication standards. Our networks, telecom services and multimedia solutions make it easier for people, across the world, to communicate. And as communication changes the way we live and work, Ericsson is playing a key role in this evolution. Using innovation to empower people, business and society, we are working towards the Networked Society, in which everything that can benefit from a connection will have one. Our vision is to be the prime driver in an all-communicating world. The content of this document is subject to revision without notice due to continued progress in methodology, design and manufacturing. Ericsson shall have no liability for any error or damage of any kind resulting from the use of this document. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson SE-126 25 Stockholm, Sweden Telephone +46 8719 0000 www.ericsson.com © Ericsson AB 2013
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