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I was fortunate enough to attend Mobile World Congress (MWC), a conference held in Barcelona, Spain the week of February 22nd. Like previous years, it was by far the busiest show I have ever attended. In three days, I met with over 20 companies, mainly in the area of Microwave Transmission, which is one of the technology areas I cover.

When it comes to microwave technology, the themes were very similar among the microwave manufacturers (with a few exceptions): increasing microwave transmission capacity, utilizing different spectrum, and reducing time to install.

The technologies to support these efforts included:

  • 4096 QAM
  • V-band (60 GHz), E-band (70/80 GHz), W-band (90 to 110 GHz), and D-band (140 to 175 GHz)
  • Multi-band radio frequency bonding
  • Signal beam-forming
  • Antenna auto-alignment

However, with nearly all the manufacturers moving towards the same grouping of technology, how will these vendors differentiate themselves? How will they break away from an overcrowded pool of 28+ microwave transmission vendors and stand out?

The bad news is that it’s not easy. For many of the vendors, future sales will come down to channels of sales, pricing, and luck.

The good news is that a number of vendors have plans to remain above the herd and differentiate based on either being first to market with leading edge technology, targeting the requirements of a select set of customers by application, developing tools to reduce the time to install a microwave link, or enhancing a customer’s experience with the aid of software applications.

I was fortunate to attend MWC this year: Where else could I of had such rich conversations with over 20 companies in only three days while walking a total of fifteen miles between the booths?