Cellular carriers challenge mesh-network dominance.
Now that wireless carriers are promoting their networks as a cost-effective communications platform for smart grid data, they face legitimate questions about fundamental performance issues. But if public networks turn out to be the better choice in many cases, utilities might have some explaining to do before state commissions.
In the pantheon of annoying but effective TV advertising, Verizon Wireless’s “Can You Hear Me Now?” campaign has surely achieved immortality. By pointing out the most universal of mobile phone weaknesses—dead spots and drop-outs—Verizon cleverly moved out in front of the problem to position itself as the market’s coverage leader, much to the irritation of AT&T and the other major carriers.
But this marketing success highlighted cracks in the cellular mortar that have yet to be completely filled. The fact is, there’s no such thing as a perfect wireless phone network, and there never will be. Between the challenges of ground clutter, radio-frequency (RF) interference and technology gremlins, mobile phones will always suffer the occasional glitch.