Saturday, 6 February 2016

Small Cells Forecasts...


Small Cell Forum published a report last year titled 'Crossing the Chasm: Small Cells Industry 2015' in which draws on the findings of three very different pieces of research to show that, in 2015, for the first time outside the residential segment, small cells moved from trials and smaller deployments, to large-scale roll-outs, and this process of densification will accelerate from 2016 through to the end of the decade. The three studies each targeted a different base of respondents and so the plans and opinions of three key stakeholder groups – mobile operators, the component ecosystem, and enterprises – are all brought together to create a uniquely multidimensional view of the state of the market today. The report is available here to download.

ThinkSmallCell held their annual analyst forecast with Caroline Gabriel of Rethink Technology Research and Joe Madden of Mobile Experts. Their slide deck (with Video at the end) is embedded below. The webinar could also be viewed directly on Youtube here.



Feel free to add your opinion in the comments section on if you agree or disagree with these forecasts and statistics.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Wireless densification via HetNet orchestration


According to a whitepaper that was published late last year by ThinkSmallCell:

There are commonly thought to be three ways to densify wireless traffic capacity:
1. More spectrum (expensive, limited)
2. More spectrally efficiency (e.g. LTE rather than 2G)
3. More spatial reuse (i.e. small cells)
But there is also a fourth aspect which can deliver significant additional benefit
4. Orchestration and tighter control. (e.g. SON (Self Organising Networks), traffic steering/shaping across and between all available wireless resources)

This has been a key factor driving replacement of outdated macrocells with “Single RAN” basestation equipment that supports all generations of radio interface. These specifically address (1) and (2) above. What’s needed next is investment in tools and equipment that provides similar flexibility for (3) and (4), scaling to cope with an influx of small cells and introducing real-time management and co-ordination across all available wireless technologies, both cellular and Wi-Fi.

While we dont generally hear a lot about SON nowadays, I know most of the vendors have implemented some or the other aspects of SON in their equipment. Orchestration can definitely have a much bigger impact than SON by itself on the densification.

In 5G, we talk about 'edgeless cells', 'no-edge networks', etc. Orchestration of the network will have a big part to play in this too.

Anyway, here is the whitepaper embedded below and available to download from Slideshare




Sunday, 17 January 2016

Small Cells & Wi-Fi in the pavements & roads


Back in October last year, Thinksmallcell reported that Vigin Media in UK is deploying WiFi in pavements.



ISPreview reports that:

Ordinarily most operators prefer to install WiFi access points above ground, not least because it helps the 2.4GHz signal to propagate, but telecoms infrastructure owners like Virgin Media have a lot of manholes around the place that can also be used (makes it easier to tap directly into their core capacity links) and apparently this approach can still cover an area of up to 80 metres.

The use of a submerged rainproof access point, which sits beneath a specially developed resin cover, is certainly a different twist on the usual deployments. Never the less Virgin Media are also using plenty of traditional access points too, which have been discreetly installed on local street furniture.


Wireless antenna maker Kathrein has teamed with Ericsson and Swiss operator Swisscom to develop an in-ground antenna system that will help provide additional wireless coverage in densely populated areas. The technology, called the Kathrein Street Connect, was developed to help operators deploy additional cell sites in places where site acquisition is difficult due to zoning issues.

Kathrein designed the antenna while Ericsson provided the radio. The rugged solution was designed to withstand deploying in streets with heavy vehicle traffic. Currently there are 17 sites piloting the technology in Switzerland with plans for commercial deployment in 2016, said Jim DeKoekkoek, product line manager for antennas and filters at Kathrein, in an interview with FierceInstaller.

Kathrein also has a video on Youtube explaining this:


Its interesting to see that pavements and roads may become the new battleground for providing connectivity through Wi-Fi and Small Cells.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Small Cells in the Lamp posts


This lamp post does look a bit weird and ugly but it could be the future. 'SmartPoles', developed by Philips in conjunction with Ericsson delivers LED lights and LTE powered mobile broadband. According to the official press release:

With cellular data traffic expected to grow 9 times by 2020, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report, and current telecoms infrastructure struggling to respond to this demand, Philips SmartPoles are enabling seamless mobile wireless 4G/LTE connectivity, with the small cell technology from Ericsson housed in the poles to enable increased data capacity in the telecoms network.  Philips SmartPoles were specifically designed and tested to accept FCC licensed wireless mobile network operator equipment. This enables an alternative deployment methodology for 4G LTE broadband services which will connect each pole through a fiber link to its core network.


Back in February TTP in partnership with IP.Access, Quortus and Freescale demoed another concept of small cell on the lamp post. The case study on Freescale's website says:

TTP’s new eNodeB based on the QorIQ Qonverge® BSC9131 addresses these challenges. It fits into a photocell socket of a standard lamp post, providing the quickest possible installation without any modification to the lighting column or its power supply. The solution incorporates LTE Access Point software from ip.access and has been demonstrated with the Quortus ECX Core evolved packet core. It is targeted at 50 metre cells, supporting up to 32 active users at downlink rates of up to 100 Mbps.

TTP have also made an interesting video on this:





This conceptual lamppost above was conceived as a part of Oakland Innovation Project in 2013. While its good, its not ambitious enough as it talks about just WiFi for connectivity.


On the other hand, V-Pole (Vancouver Pole) concept by Canadian writer and artist Douglas Coupland shows what may be possible in the distant future. It is a wireless data, electrical vehicle charging, neighbourhood bulletin board post that is also an LED lamp post that could eliminate some of that clutter. I think it will still take quite a few years before technology can make this possible. Press release from 2012 available here.

I look forward to the day when street lights and lamp posts can do more than simply provide lighting and be a hub for providing connectivity and much more.

Related posts:

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Interference cancellation in high density small cells deployment

I looked at some 3GPP Release-12 small cells enhancements in an earlier blog post here. David Chambers, ThinkSmallCell has also published a post on 3GPP small cells enhancements in Release-12 and Release-13 which is available here.

In a recent NTT Docomo technical journal, there is an article that focuses on Interference suppression and cancellation techniques that have been introduced as part of 3GPP Release-12. These techniques can be used in conjunction with high density small cells Hetnet deployment. The article is embedded below.



Sunday, 20 September 2015

Summary of Small Cell Forum Champions day



Small Cell forum held its champions day in Rome this month. There were some interesting case studies and presentations (details below). I have embedded some presentations and provided links to others. Interested people, feel free to explore further.

The Small Cell Forum has identified six key work items where they will be focusing their energies. These are:
  • Small cells in Enterprise
  • License Exempt Spectrum
  • HetNet & SON
  • Virtualization of small cells
  • Multi operator support
  • The role of small cells in 5G, IOT & M2M
Spidercloud did a presentation on Enterprise small cells. They were also one of the sponsors for a study by analyst firm iGR that showed strong demand among Enterprises for Managed Services based on Small Cells.

Cisco shared a case study from a university campus deployment where existing WI-FI APs were ‘upgraded’ to add a small cell capability.



Quortus demonstrated the range of architectures possible with virtualized small cell core networks including the on site MEC server supporting small cells across an enterprise and mission critical small cells supporting public safety applications. See presentation below:



iBwave showed how deployment within the enterprise had improved, with a case study which reduced indoor small cell planning down to one site visit.

MVNO TalkTalk outlined their plans to add LTE small cells to their home routers enriching customer experience as well increasing traffic offload from the macro network. The residential 4G small cells use a dedicated 3.3MHz carrier frequency already compatible with existing 4G handsets to provide good coverage indoors and in the surrounding streets.

Nokia demonstrated the importance of 3D thinking when planning small cell HetNets in dense urban indoor and outdoor environments due to building and user topography.

Qualcomm described how their SON technology provides zero touch integration for both the small cells and the macros, optimizing handovers in both directions.


Huawei shared their vision for small cell evolution, incorporating emerging technologies which leverage license exempt spectrum. Their demonstration of LAA mobility with Vodafone notching up 600Mbps peak rates clearly showing the potential of a joined-up approach to spectrum.


Airspan trials with SoftBank demonstrated an early nFAPI implementation working in a virtualized small cell / macro HetNet. The small cells filled in coverage gaps, and their densification increased capacity. Centralised CoMP and eICIC were demonstrated over a pre-standard nFAPI which works over commonly available packet based transport with significantly less stringent performance requirements than required with CPRI based C-RAN.

Monday, 31 August 2015

The role of Wi-Fi in evolving mobile ecosystem



Came across this old presentation from the Cambridge Wireless FWIC 2015 by Plum consulting. I have written many posts on these topics but this is going to be a hot area for discussion for the coming months and year(s). In fact you might be seeing more on these topics in the next few months on this blog.

Here is the presentation from Plum embedded below.



You can read more about the Cambridge Wireless Future of Wireless international conference in a blog post by ThinkSmallCell here.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Case Study: Deploying small cell backhaul in China


Came across this old presentation (embedded below) by CCS (Cambridge Communication Systems Limited) of small cell backhaul deployment in China. Having looked at their website they do have regular updates for different deployment. Here is one with China Mobile and here is another one from China Telecom. Interested readers can also read their regular updates here.

Here is their presentation from Small Cells World Summit (Backhaul Summit) from last year: