Small cells make big impact at MWC
Alan Law, Small Cell Forum
MWC 2015 saw big strides forward in the successful commercialization of small cells, with technologies that were new in 2014 now moving into the mainstream. As well as our own exciting news on Release Five the range of small cell products and news announced was impressive:
Alcatel-Lucent launched a new compact metro cell that is currently being trialled with a number of operators. The devices are 50% smaller than existing metro cells which provides more options for the discrete creation of HetNets to improve coverage and capacity, including integrating the device into street furniture.
The company also announced the world’s first deployment of its LTE, 3G and Wi-Fi enterprise small cell device. Featuring a chipset from Qualcomm, the device is currently helping Canadian telecom provider TELUS to offer its customers superior high-speed mobile connectivity and capacity inside buildings.
The enterprise market segment was also high on the agenda for many other companies, demonstrating that enterprise customers are waking up to the huge business benefits that mobile technology can offer. Cisco introduced a small cell solution for large-scale enterprise deployments with SpiderCloud and Vodafone, which was developed in response to customer demand for a more scalable and integrated approach to enterprise small cells.
Cisco also announced that EE, the UK’s largest mobile network operator is deploying Cisco small cells to support its growing base of enterprise customers.
ip.access was busy showcasing its enterprise range which includes a fully commercial LTE only product. They also published research which confirms that UK businesses are losing £33 Million a week as employees hunt for mobile reception.
Small cells also took to the stage at the MWC awards as Airvana’s OneCell system won Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough and Outstanding Overall Mobile Technology at the GSMA Awards. Airvana’s OneCell technology eliminates the need for proprietary networks or optical links enabling a much more flexible network infrastructure.
Huawei were busy at the GSMA awards, bagging the much sought-after Best Mobile Infrastructure Award for its innovative LampSite solution, which utilises TD-LTE technology to provide mobile broadband coverage indoors.
Quortus announced an expansion of its ECX (EdgeCentrix) product range, enabling value-added services for rural, remote, enterprise and public safety markets and added VoLTE support to its enterprise core network software.
Alcatel-Lucent demonstrated how Wifi and Cellular continue to get closer together with Wireless Unified Networks.
Meanwhile Nokia and Ruckus Wireless have announced a partnership that will look to integrate Ruckus-powered technology with Nokia’s Flexi Zone technology to create purpose-built indoor and outdoor small cell solutions and increase Nokia’s network capacity.
TTP, in association with Freescale, ip.access and Quortus, demonstrated the concept of installing small cells on top of existing light poles/lamp posts. Allowing for easy installations that already have a mains power supply.
And it seems it’s not just the mobile operators seeing the potential of small cells. Google revealed plans to get into the mobile market, perhaps even launching small cells in the sky using tethered balloons and solar powered drones. We’ll watch this space.