What is a small cell?
‘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.
Small cells provide improved cellular coverage, capacity and applications for homes and enterprises as well as metropolitan and rural public spaces.
Types of small cells include femtocells, picocells, metrocells and microcells – broadly increasing in size from femtocells (the smallest) to microcells (the largest). Any or all of these small cells can be based on ‘femtocell technology’ - i.e. the collection of standards, software, open interfaces, chips and know-how that have powered the growth of femtocells.
Small cells also facilitate a new breed of mobile service that exploits the technology’s ability to detect presence, and connect and interact with existing networks.