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Wireless connectivity is a key enabler for the plethora of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems and applications that facilitate our business and private lives on a daily basis with convenient and easy-to-use readily connected devices. Data usage  in wireless networks now exceeds voice and continues to grow by hundreds of percent per annum. This is placing significant strain on air interface capacity, and network operators are incurring large costs to install new equipment in order to increase the provision. The ratio of the aggregate of peak data rates available to all users on a cell to the total capacity available is growing alarmingly quickly, from about 10 in 2008 to possibly 100 by 2015. This means that by 2015, on average a user can expect to achieve only about 1% of the advertised peak data rate. With more than a quarter of adults owning a smartphone, as well as almost half the teenage population , there is therefore an urgent need to increase the available capacity of mobile networks to support this high growth rate in data demand. Further, by 2020 some 7 trillion wireless connected devices are predicted to be in use supporting machine-to-machine (M2M) interactions, our ageing population (Health Care), efficient transport systems (Smart Cities) and energy management (Smart Grids). By comparing this forecast with the 5 billion mobile connections in 2010, this challenge can be put in context and highlights that the future of wireless research is much more than tether-free connectivity for smart phones and ipads.
Date of Conference: 14-15 Nov. 2011