Equipment market for in-building wireless — including distributed antenna systems (DAS), passive DAS, and repeaters — will reach nearly $10 billion by 2025, said ABI Research.
The overall system revenue, including services and equipment, will grow at a CAGR of 15 percent to top $19 billion in 2025. Out of this market, 5G in-building wireless equipment will account for $509 million in 2025.
ABI Research said 5G deployments indoors and in venues may be delayed by one year or more when compared to outdoor 5G deployments starting from 2020.
As 5G nears full specification, mobile operators will face challenges for indoor mobile coverage, including signal propagation, next-generation fronthaul/backhaul, and massive MIMO.
“Early 5G deployments indoors and in venues will be a migration building on the features of LTE-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro. This will happen technology by technology and frequency by frequency, avoiding costly ‘rip and replace’ style deployments,” said Nick Marshall, research director at ABI Research.
ABI Research said 5G is a multi-technology HetNet, comprised of different cell types and access technologies to adapt to an array of use cases and applications.
The report said NFV migrates cellular signal processing to a remote telco data center, while MEC migrates IT compute and storage to the network edge within the building or venue for low latency use cases and applications.
The telecom research report said Massive MIMO, a key challenge that 5G will face as it nears full specification, refers to the use of multiple antennas at the base station and mobile device.
“Future 5G networks will rely on network functions virtualization, or NFV, and mobile edge computing, or MEC, to alter the architecture and topology of the RAN by leveraging telco data centers to virtualize signal processing in the cloud,” said Marshall.
Many telecom equipment vendors — Nokia with its AirFrame/AirScale Radio Access, Ericsson with its ERS, and CommScope with its OneCell — are researching and developing 5G equipment with a variety of approaches.