Qualcomm (News - Alert) Technologies Inc. has joined forces with the Industrial Technology Research Institute to accelerate 5G NR small cell product commercialization by Taiwanese OEMs and ODMs.
“This new collaboration will provide ITRI early access to Qualcomm Technologies’ key 5G small cell technology, including the creation of industry-grade quality assurance capability for communication protocol product and a live network test bed to enable product testing and performance verification under real world environment prior to product launch field trials,” explained Dr. Tzi-Cker Chiueh, general director of information and communication labs at ITRI. “It places local companies and Taiwan in a leadership position to drive 5G networks of tomorrow.”
ITRI is a not-for-profit that does applied research and offers technical services. Qualcomm Technologies is a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc.
Small cells are already in cellular networks today. And they are expected to become even more widely used in 5G networks, which will employ higher range spectrum that tends to have shorter reach.
“Getting to 5G technology calls for an estimated 10 to 100 times more antennas than used to power 4G today,” notes Washington, D.C., law firm Wiley Rein LLP in an Aug. 1 article. “Moreover, 5G technology will, in part, utilize millimeter wavelength spectrum, which while providing a stronger connection, supports service over shorter distances. In fact, high-band spectrum is generally only useful for covering about 200 meters, roughly equivalent to a city block. To make high-quality 5G technology widely available, then, carriers must deploy many antennas in locations both closer to the ground and closer to consumers than those used to power 4G. This is where the small cell comes in.”
And there are numerous small cell varieties, including femtocells, picocells and microcells. Some are used outdoors to expand the capacity of cell sites outside. Others are designed for use to expand coverage indoors.
There are also various small cell architectures, Qualcomm notes in its announcement of the relationship with ITRI.
“Small cells can be deployed either in a distributed (or standalone) architecture or in a centralized architecture with remote radio heads,” according to the release. “Small cells including RRH will be needed to realize the full potential of 5G and are particularly well suited to support a wide range of spectrum bands including sub-6 GHz and mmWave (e.g., 28 and 39 GHz); and to support hyper-densification with expanded capacity and coverage, especially in challenging indoor environments. Small cell innovation will also be a key enabler for new types of deployments, both in mmWave and sub 6 GHz bands, such as private 5G networks, neutral hosts and fixed wireless.”
Edited by Alicia Young