Cisco Small Cells

Cisco will build small cellular base stations, said CEO John Chambers this week.

Until now only a handful of major manufacturers such as Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia Siemens Networks, Alcatel-Lucent and ZTE have made cellular infrastructure gear.

Cisco isn’t planning build full-size “macro” base stations. Instead it will focus on “small cells” that cover smaller areas, covering a block or two, indoors or out.

AT&T plans to also deploy more than 40,000 small cells, over the next few years. That rollout may use a combination of WiFi hotspots, small cells, and a combination of both (HetNets).

Cisco’s Wi-Fi access points generate only about US$100 million per year, a relatively small number for Cisco, but that figure roughly doubled in the quarter from a year earlier on the strength of several new deals with carriers, reports Network World.

“We’re going to move into small cell, and then we’re going to combine small cell with [service-provider] Wi-Fi, with 3G, with 4G, with our architectural plays,” Chambers said. Cisco would make the kinds of base stations designed to go on top of light poles, explained Chambers.

One advantage that larger “macro” base stations have is the ability to more easily coordinate with small cells, maximizing efficiency and lowering interference.

Symmetricom, however, has started a new industry group aimed at interoperability of LTE small-cell backhaul networks. The group falls within Symmetricom’s existing SyncWorld ecosystem program. The first members in the new small-cell synchronization group are: Alcatel-Lucent, CS Holdings, Contela, Broadcom, Cavium Networks, Mindspeed Technologies, Qualcomm Atheros , Node-H GmbH and Rakon.

LTE eNodeB gear is the basestation hardware that connects to a mobile phone. The primary suppliers include:

Sprint will deploy Alcatel-Lucent’s lightRadio Metro Cells to augment coverage in high-traffic areas.

The Alcatel-Lucent 9768 Metrocell (left) integrates two lightRadio cubes and a full-sector remote radio head into a single compact unit. Sprint is deploying LTE on its 1900MHz spectrum this year and will start deploying LTE on its 800MHz spectrum in 2014.

Sprint may also use Clear’s TD-LTE-A service (at 2.6 GHz), which is scheduled to launch in the summer of 2013, for additional spectrum in high density urban cores. Clearwire will use Samsung and Huawei gear to upgrade its WiMAX network to TD-LTE.

Samsung will help Sprint develop their Small Cell Network Infrastructure. Samsung’s small cells will allow Sprint to consolidate multiple legacy networks and spectrum bands in a single platform,” said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile.

Terms weren’t disclosed for the two small cell supply agreements with Alcatel-Lucent and Samsung.

Nokia’s Flexi Multiradio Antenna System (known as Liquid Radio), combine antennas and radio in one enclosure, with dedicated power amplifiers for each antenna element.

Nokia will provide its Single RAN Advanced platform for the LTE deployment, based on its Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station. Nokia says their Flexi BTS is the only macro basestation that can build outdoor sites without a dedicated cabinet.

Intel is also interested in Cloud-Radio Access Networks, where the server is the basestation. A remote server would output RF-modulated light, which can travel a mile or more, directly to tiny antennas, lowering cost and providing more control over interference and service options.

Related Dailywireless articles include; FirstNet: The Asymetrical Threat, Intel: Basestation in the Cloud , China Mobile Awards Contracts for TD-LTE, London: The Biggest Small Network in the World, AT&T: 40,000 Small Cells, Softbank & Sprint Do a Deal, WiMax Forum Embraces TD-LTE, Small Cell, Big Growth, Sprint to use LightRadio for Small Cells, London: The Biggest Small Network in the World, Alcatel-Lucent: Small Cell lightRadio, Telefónica Launches lightRadio in Barcelona, LightRadio: Early 2012 Launch, South Korea Completes Nationwide LTE Coverage, Brazilian 4G Auction Raises $1.3B, Huawei LTE 4×4: Goes to 250 Mbps, Clearwire and China Mobile Announce TD-LTE Testing Plan, Europe Supports Shared Spectrum,

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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