There are many reasons why wireless network operators look to deploy small cells and these are generally intertwined. iWireless Solutions will look at these reasons and explore the challenges they help to overcome.
Increase in data demand
A major issue for wireless network operators is the ever-growing demand for data. The majority of cellular signal is radiated from macro sites which were originally designed and deployed in the late 1980s. There have been vast technological developments in the telecoms industry since then, as well as general growth in population. Particularly, since the start of the 21st century we have seen the introduction of smartphones with 3G and 4G technologies which has changed the way people use their mobile phones with the need to browse the internet and stream content. This has also become a basic need with the expectation to be connected wherever, whenever. This need can be met with the careful planning and distribution of small cells offering 3G and 4G coverage.
There are a growing number of ‘black spots’ of capacity, particularly in areas of high footfall where customers experience poor data performance or even drop their calls. This could spell trouble for operators as disappointed customers look to change supplier to someone who can offer them more reliable coverage. Once operators understand the areas where they have insufficient or poor quality of signal, small cells become a real solution. This is because small cells are cheap, quick to deploy and cause little disruption.
Greater capacity and coverage
The amount of data an operator can provide is generally guided by the amount of spectrum they have acquired; this spectrum is sold at auction as rights to transmit in specific spectrum bands by the government regulator. Purchasing spectrum is expensive as well as limited, ultimately resulting in some operators being more restricted than others. This means that those who don’t have enough spectrum must get creative to cope with the growing data demand. One method to overcome this issue is small cells which will also reduce the traffic on the wireless network operator’s macros.
The problems of capacity and coverage can be addressed through developing a HetNet which includes cellular macro, micro, DAS, small cells and Wi-Fi.
Figure: Overview of a typical HetNet solution
Often the operator will make use of these solutions in unison to deliver the best user experience for its subscribers whilst maximising its ROI.
Whilst small cells present an array of benefits, in terms of cost and performance, there can still face challenges when deployed. iWireless Solutions has in-depth understanding and experience in addressing or circumnavigating these challenges which we will be sharing with you in our series of small cells TechTalk posts. To make sure you don’t miss anything keep an eye on our News page or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can also speak to one of our technical specialists by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 01342 305038.