Deployment stories: Small cells come to life
At our recent Singapore plenary, we held a ‘State of the Market’ workshop which involved ten ‘TED’ style presentations and covered recent breakthroughs in small cell technologies, deployment approaches and business models from our technology providers. Operators too shared examples of how they are using small cells to enhance performance, attract and retain customers.
A selection of the presentations can be found here.
Julius Robson, Release Coordinator, shares some of the key themes and highlights
Technology commercialization proof points
- Live commercial HetNets in urban and enterprise demonstrating small cells interworking with macro and DAS from other vendors.
- Multivendor macro/small cell with SON in both dedicated and shared carriers.
- Multi-operator small cells sold directly to a building owner who recognized essentiality of good mobile coverage for tenants.
- LAA integrated into small cells in pre-commercial demonstration of peak rate to over 600Mbps.
- Rural and remote small cells in Japan working over satellite backhaul.
Operators reveal insight into how small cells bringing value to their networks
- One operator described a full gamut of small cell deployments in urban, enterprise and residential and remote scenarios. In one indoor example, the small cells worked together with an existing DAS and outdoor Macro coverage demonstrating a multilayer HetNet in a commercial network.
- AT&T demonstrated with network measurements how deploying urban small cells at the macro cell edge captures previously inefficient users, and ‘onloads’ the macro. This works too for with indoor areas too, where enterprise small cells can also capture traffic that was previously inefficiently served by outdoor macros.
- Softbank described how daily and seasonal variations in traffic loading in their rural and remote small cells can be leveraged to reduce their total satellite backhaul traffic requirements.
New business models
- Ericsson described a case study where the deployment was driven by the builder of a new metalized window apartment building. Recognizing the essentiality of mobile coverage to his potential tenants, the builder dealt directly with the system vendor to install multi-operator small cells. The operators then supported the service with spectrum and backhaul. Capex was included in the cost of each apartment, and ongoing maintenance covered by a fee of less 1$ per month.
- SpiderCloud considered the implications of whether enterprise small cells should be treated as a tool for the RAN engineers to maintain network performance, or – more like Wi-Fi – treated as a product for a sales force. Whilst the latter has its challenges in changing operator culture, it enables sales to aggressively grow a business around enterprise connectivity and services, and keep customers happy.
Slicker deployment processes
- iBwave described a streamlined design, planning and documentation process which can be performed on-site by a non RF expert using a tablet based app in just a few hours. This is particularly well suited to groups of small buildings like retail stores, but can scale up to multi floor office buildings or warehouses.
- Cisco’s ‘click to deploy’ small cell core reduces the barrier to entry for operators wishing to try out Enterprise small cells. Within weeks, the operator can a full core network support for a minimum investment of 500APs worth of support, which can be increased on a fine grained PAYG basis as deployments scale.
- Alcatel-Lucent partnering with global urban street furniture owner JCDecax, integrating metrocells into bus stops and advertising boards leveraging existing backhaul and power. They also demonstrated several small cell proof points, including multi-vendor SON for small cells in both dedicated and shared spectrum with the macro.
- Huawei shared their vision for LAA integrated into small cells, and the range of deployment scenarios in which it can be used, from SMEs to large indoor spaces and outdoor areas. A demonstration showed 600Mbps peak rates could be achieved.