Every day CommScope executives talk to customers, partners, investors, media, analysts and industry influencers about the state of our business and the impact of new trends. We thought our readers would also be interested in hearing what our leadership has to say. We sat down with Ben Cardwell, senior vice president and segment leader for both CommScope Mobility Solutions (CMS) and CommScope Connectivity Solutions (CCS), to answer a few questions around mobility and enterprise trends.
1. Ben, the CommScope Mobility Solutions segment primarily serves the wireless industry. Can you briefly describe some major trends going on there?
What’s going in wireless is similar to what’s going on in all service provider networks. Wireless networks are virtualizing, meaning some network functions are being moved into software and/or the cloud. They are densifying and centralizing, meaning more cell sites with more network functions grouped in centralized locations. And there is the ever-present and ongoing need for more bandwidth, spectrum, and network capacity to support more and new types of users.
Of course, 5G has been the talk of the wireless industry for a number of years now, and we are seeing some of the first network deployments. CommScope Mobility Solutions has solutions that address all these trends.
2. How about major trends for CommScope Connectivity Solutions, which serves the enterprise, wireline, and data center markets?
Again, service provider networks are virtualizing and densifying. But more specifically, we see outside plant networks for our cable service providers moving “fiber deep,” meaning fiber optic cabling being deployed further out to the edge of the network to support wireless densification as well as fiber-to-the-x. The Tier 2 and 3 telcos and cable operators are also investing in markets that are inadequately served by the Tier 1 operators.
In the data center space, the ongoing trends are hyperscale (meaning, massive-sized) and multi-tenant (meaning, leased to many customers) data centers. The impact on CommScope is that these huge data center operators are looking for customized and complex solutions, which happens to be our sweet spot. CommScope thrives on delivering customized solutions specific to the complex challenges in each major operator’s network.
And the enterprise campus continues to go wireless, which means more fiber and copper connectivity solutions are needed to aggregate traffic from high-capacity access points.
3. How are Mobility Solutions and Connectivity Solutions solving problems for our customers as they create the future connected society?
In one word, convergence. We often say, “Behind every great wireless network, there is a great wireline network.” With the push towards virtualization so prolific, it is getting hard to figure out where the wireless network starts and the fiber network ends. CommScope is uniquely positioned to deliver the most comprehensive and innovative set of solutions as we are one of the only manufacturers in the industry that supports both markets.
Where the fiber network and wireless network meets is closer to the edge now in the metro cell, also called a small cell. We’ve developed unique solutions that lower the cost and increase the speed of connecting lots of metro cells in a fiber network.
4. What are some of the advantages of having ARRIS a part of CommScope?
The combination of ARRIS and CommScope gives us a huge advantage as the industry drives towards private networks where licensed and unlicensed spectrum work together to provide subscribers an enhanced and seamless experience. We are the only company that has roots in both licensed (distributed antenna systems/small cells) and unlicensed (Wi-Fi) spectrum, so we can be agnostic as to the solutions we provide to specific market verticals. In the CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) space, an emerging wireless market in the US, we have the whole solution – access points, core networks, edge switching, and a spectrum access system (SAS).
In the private networks space, we are clearly a leader. In outside plant, we’ve been deploying complementary equipment on the same poles and in the same pits between legacy CommScope and ARRIS for decades. Now we can come up with more tightly integrated solutions with enhanced features for cable TV networks.