The recent increase in the adoption of small cell technology has certainly brought the innovative next generation technology to the forefront of the industry, however, small cells are in no way new in the broadband market.
Ben Ansell, Nokia (News - Alert) Siemen’s head of small cells marketing is a subject matter expert in the small cells space and where it is headed thanks to innovative companies like Nokia Siemens (News - Alert).
Launched back in February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Nokia Siemens’ Flexi Zone architecture was created to enable capacity and coverage for small cells.
The Nokia Siemens Networks Flexi Zone suite is a 3G/LTE (News - Alert)/WiFi-capable cellular solution engineered to offload traffic from the macro network to an underlay network at a street and indoor level, both for individual subscribers and enterprises. Flexi Zone creates a zone covered by a cluster of low-power access points connected to a local controller. This configuration enables operators to provide a remarkably rich user experience while offloading unwanted data traffic from their macro and core networks.
At CTIA Wireless (News - Alert) in New Orleans this past week, the company took the product a step further by rolling out a small private network thanks to the government allowing access to local telephone poles.
When asked about the recent fuss over small cell technology, particularly at the event, Ansell shared that while small cell base stations are certainly not new, in the past they were not designed for macronetworks.
With the help of LTE, which was designed for overlapping cells, the small cells can work collaboratively over LTE, eliminating the interference that would happen with femto or picocells that are primarily used in scenarios that require less significant capacity like in homes.
However, the challenge that service providers and operators are beginning to face is that as demand for macrosites increases, they are becoming much more difficult to acquire. And according to Ansell, with the necessity to power entire offices or buildings with macrocells, operators have to find a different way of accomplishing this task as it is much more difficult to get a small cell into a building. As newer building are becoming more eco-friendly, the task becomes much more possible, however, Ansell adds that economic plays a large part in the decision since those who can afford to implement small cell technology are at an advantage for their business.
To further drive this initiative, Nokia Siemens’ small cell division recently came to an agreement with Ruckus Wireless an innovator in WiFi (News - Alert) to roll out WiFi networks that are integrated with 3GPP networks. By utilizing Ruckus’ technology, the two companies will be able to provide converged core networks that can move traffics between networks. If the WiFi becomes congested, for example, they can be moved over to LTE or 3GPP networks to accommodate.
Edited by Juliana Kenny