Small Cell Networks: Changing the Rural Landscape for the 5G-Era
Small cells must not be considered only as a solution for cities. SCF is holding its first ever Rural and Remote Summit to discuss how the increasingly diverse and critical needs of industries and consumers in sparsely populated areas can be met. There are many challenges, but it is urgent that they are addressed now, so that the transformative impact of 5G is not confined only to urban canyons.
High quality mobile connectivity is just as critical to rural and remote areas as cities – sometimes more so, since it may be the only source of broadband. The days when ‘rural connectivity’ meant best effort, leaving many consumers and businesses the wrong side of the digital divide, are over. This is well understood in rural areas of the USA, where the Summit will be held, in Evanston, Wyoming, on July 25-26.
Not only do those customers demand the same quality and performance as their urban cousins, but with the approach of 5G and the Internet of Things, a host of new mobile use cases needs to be mirrored precisely in urban and rural areas. Smart traffic management, and even self-driving cars, cannot stop when the vehicle crosses the city limits.
Many IoT applications, like environmental monitoring, require complete ubiquity. And in remote areas, 5G connections will be able to support business and even life critical services to mines, oil rigs, farms and other locations which have previously been unconnected.
It is tough to do this. Small cells make it more practical and more economically viable to bring high quality connectivity to all homes, businesses and connected ‘things’. But that does not make the task a simple one. The Summit will discuss many of the challenges for rural deployment – related to technology, deployment and business – and the solutions which are emerging to address these.
On the technology side, backhaul is a perennial issue, but innovations in in-band wireless backhaul, or in optimising a satellite link to reduce latency, are helping to make even ultra-remote deployments a practicality. The cost and physical difficulty of rolling out and maintaining small cells can be offset by increasingly plug-and-play models, sometimes with integrated packet core.
Mobile industry events tend to skim over rural and remote markets, so this is a really valuable chance to learn more about the technical solutions, to discuss practical challenges with experts in the field, and to meet potential partners. If you target rural communities and enterprises, or hope to, this will provide unique and invaluable insights into technical and commercial best practice.
The Summit will be hosted by one of the USA’s longest-standing and most successful rural mobile operators, Union Wireless. Founded way back in 1914, Union has focused on wireless communications for the past 25 years, and will share its experiences and challenges in delivering these services in rural Wyoming and Colorado.
Spaces are limited, so sign up now to guarantee your place:
Rural SCN (3G/LTE) Opportunities & Challenges
- Market landscape and commercial issues
- Technical challenges – architectures, spectrum, backhaul
- Deployment and operational issues
- Regulatory context
- Rural SCNs: 5G Use Cases
- Smart Agriculture
- Rural Health
- Industrial IoT
- Case Studies
- Next Steps – technical, regulatory, collaborative