Providing national technology infrastructure solutions since 2001.

The Excelerator

DAS Systems

What’s ahead for Wireless in 2024

The past year has been a busy one for the wireless infrastructure industry. The emergence of fixed wireless access dominated headlines as BEAD funding plans moved forward. Shifts in capital expenditures and funding models also impacted the industry as 5G rollouts began to mature. However, connectivity continues to demonstrate its immense value and necessity, and wireless has proven it is a key tool in ensuring that connectivity benefits everyone.

Looking ahead to 2024, wireless infrastructure industry thought leaders are keeping their eye on developments including Open RAN, network densification and in-building connectivity, spectrum and artificial intelligence.

In 2024, AT&T’s Open RAN deployment in collaboration with Ericsson will no doubt be one of the most important trends for our industry. This decision will have a major impact on the overall ecosystem, and it will be interesting to see how the rest of the carriers and equipment ecosystem respond. 

What was the most significant development that happened during 2023 in the wireless infrastructure industry and why?

Definitely the ongoing shift from carrier to enterprise-funded wireless projects, along with the broader adoption of 5G as the go-to standard. We’ve watched carriers step back from funding all but a few specific types of wireless projects. Meanwhile, we’ve seen that enterprise clients are starting to appreciate the benefits of controlling their own networks. That control is becoming increasingly important since almost every business task today involves being connected. Whether it’s for security, reliability, or just plain practicality, it makes a lot of sense for businesses to invest in building and operating their own networks. It’s also important in terms of public safety because we’re seeing code enforcement to ensure first responder radios work effectively inside buildings. For both new construction and building updates we’ve seen a steady increase in enforcement over the years, but there has been a significant acceleration recently across most major metropolitan areas.

Plus, now that more companies are back in their offices, there’s a greater willingness to invest in wireless infrastructure that we didn’t see during COVID. People are using these spaces again, so it makes sense to invest in good networks to support them, creating a positive customer experience.  Additionally, the ever-growing amount of data we all use means that companies are incented to diversify their networks. This includes investing in both Wi-Fi and commercial cellular networks to manage data needs more effectively and improve connectivity. 5G, in particular, supports these trends by providing both increased data flow and an enhanced experience, and that helps validate the investment in a diversified network infrastructure.

What trend do you think will impact the wireless infrastructure industry the most in 2024 and why?

Still, that continued push for in-building wireless infrastructure. With business activities back on-site and budgets finally aligning with company needs, we think it’s going to be “all systems go.” We’re talking about complex, long-term projects here, controlled by the enterprise. We all know that these types of projects can take months, if not years, to build, but behind the scenes, the planning and internal approval stages can also stretch over months or years. It’s a thorough process, from collecting data on usage needs and deciding what kind of system is best, to getting the green light on the budget. But now, those detailed plans are finally getting off the ground, and we’re stepping into the phase of actual construction and deployment. It’s an exciting time because all that groundwork is turning into real, tangible progress in our spaces.

Also, keep your eye on private cellular networks. They’re gaining traction across different industries, particularly for those needing enhanced security or more control over their networks. We’ve been busy helping set up a lot of smaller, proof-of-concept systems. Looking ahead, I expect a shift from these initial trials to full-scale rollouts across multiple enterprise locations. It’s going from a ‘let’s try this out’ phase to ‘let’s make this happen everywhere.’