SCF report highlights how small cell networks will support connected car technologies

SCF, the global trade organization supporting the evolution and adoption of low-cost, agile mobile infrastructure, today announced the publication of its latest white paper that highlights the key role small cells will play in the future technologies that will take connected cars into the mainstream.

The paper, which was researched and written by an SCF working group comprising representatives from Dense Air, BT, STL, iCana, EnerSys, Picocom and Reliance Jio, offers a high-level guide to C-V2X (Cellular Vehicle to Everything) technology and the role that small cell technologies can play in its evolution and deployment.

A critical component of C-V2X design is the safety features that can be implemented as part of the system. Much of this will rely on wireless connectivity, and the infrastructure that enables it.

In order for C-V2X to provide the gains in road safety associated with it, wireless coverage needs to be accessible. This means that coverage, capacity and timely interactions between the C-V2X infrastructure and the users are important to provide a means of implementing the safety, traffic management, and additional features.

Over time, more vehicles and other road users will have C-V2X in their cars and on their devices, encouraging increased use of C-V2X technology. This wider use implies a role for small cells, which could be an ideal way of providing the connectivity vehicle-focused networks require, especially in areas where macro cells can’t be built, are already overloaded, or where coverage is poor.

Lorraine Fearn, SCF Work Item Lead and RAN Architect at Dense Air, said: “Small cells can be deployed unobtrusively, in larger numbers than traditional macro cells. In some cases, roadside units (RSUs) could be combined or merged with mobile network small cells, providing more functionality, reduced deployment costs and increased infrastructure efficiency. This could be central to enabling the mass introduction of C-V2X into the market in the future. We certainly see a strong role for small cells in this sector, and a role for SCF in supporting the roll out.”

The paper sets out the use cases for C-V2X technology; the ecosystem; the network architecture required for small cells and C-V2X; the components required; and market status.

Sue Monahan, SCF CEO, added: “According to market data, the C-V2X market size is expected to surpass $900 million by 2025, so discussing the technical requirements to enable C-V2X is important, even if the realities seem a way off yet. Small cells have the potential to play a key role in the connectivity required for connected vehicles but there’s still much to be done in terms of security, interoperability, and infrastructure readiness. These are all issues

highlighted in our paper and will be areas of focus for SCF as C-V2X technologies and regulation evolves.”

Download the full document here.