The Small Cell World Summit 2014, in partnership with the Small Cells Forum, is taking place from 10 – 12 June 2014 in London with a key focus on outlining the vision for the future of small cell deployment.
‘Small cells’ is an umbrella term for operator-controlled, low-powered radio access nodes, including those that operate in licensed spectrum and unlicensed carrier-grade Wi-Fi. Small cells typically have a range from 10 metres to several hundred metres.
This week the Small Cell Forum, announced the launch of Release Four to help operators open up opportunities and overcome the barriers associated with urban small cells. Within the release, standards for multivendor HetNets are reviewed, and partner ETSI is running Plugfest interoperability events to debug implementations.
- Qualcomm introduces a Small Cell System-on-Chip for small business and Neighborhood Access Points. It’s designed to help network operators augment their existing cellular networks while providing cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity. Qualcomm says mobile operators, cable multiple systems operators (MSOs) and businesses can go mobile, cost effectively.
- Cisco launched Small Cell Enterprise Select – a programme aimed at accelerating operators’ small cell enterprise deployments.
- Airvana unveiled their multi-operator small-cell product. Airvana says their OneCell System delivers LTE for enterprises and public spaces with the economics and simplicity of managed Wi-Fi.
- SpiderCloud Wireless is ready to ship its dual-band SCRN 3G/LTE 310 radio node after the small cell solution demonstrated reliability in LTE trials.
- Alcatel-Lucent teamed with Towerstream for access to high-capacity backhaul. It’s part of Towerstream’s HetNets Towersubsidiary.
- Radisys and RAN software developer AirHop Communications announced a self-organizing network (SON) solution for LTE and LTE Advanced small-cell networks for the integration of small cells into multivendor, multitechnology and multimode heterogeneous networks (HetNets). Radisys and Broadcom are collaborating on Small Cell Solutions.
- Intracom is trialling its StreetNode product in both Point-to-Multipoint and in Point-to-Point configurations, with a small cell backhaul radio operating at 2048 QAM modulation providing almost 1GBps capacity. It operates in the 26 / 28 / 32 / 42 GHz frequency bands.
- InterDigital will demonstrate backhaul solutions for small cells in the 60GHz unlicensed bands, based on the 802.11 standard leveraging low cost WiGig (Wireless Gigabit) technology and directional mesh technology to enable self-discovery, mesh formation and high throughput.
- The University of Bristol and Bristol start-up Blu Wireless will demonstrate multi-gigabit beamforming and mobile tracking up to 100 metres from the base station at 60 GHz. In both cases beam forming is shown to overcome the harmful effects of blocking trees and buses.
The big challenge with LTE small cells is getting enough backhaul capacity to each site, notes Light Reading. “How to get 60 Mbit/s to 100 Mbit/s cost-effectively to each small cell is the challenge,” said Bryn Jones, CTO at UK operator 3.
In a survey commissioned by small cell developer ip.access, a Maravedis-Rethink surveyof 20 tier one mobile network operators, only 20% said that coverage and capacity alone were sufficient reasons to drive enterprise small cell deployment. Some 70% wanted to see additional benefits as part of any deployment.
Fixed–mobile convergence removes the differences between fixed and mobile networks. LTE is all-IP, so unless mobile operators continue to run separate voice networks in parallel, they will inevitably transition to VoIP. Whether broadband wireless could cost/effectively replace DSL or cable modems remains to be seen.