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Operators need flexible small cell solutions

Escrito por . Williams, Manager and C. Nicoll, Pract.Head el 24/06/2014 a las 19:01:10

Mobile data consumption is increasing rapidly, driven by the take-up of smartphones, tablets and other mobile broadband devices. The average monthly mobile traffic per connection in developed countries is set to increase from 182MB in 2011 to 892MB in 2016, at a CAGR of 31%, according to our latest worldwide wireless traffic forecast. In emerging markets, mobile traffic per device will increase from 87MB in 2011 to 301MB per month in 2016 at a CAGR of 28%. This growth is causing coverage and localised capacity problems for mobile operators. They have launched LTE networks to address the demand, but now need to plan to provide additional coverage and capacity at indoor and outdoor locations where significant numbers of people congregate for work or leisure – also known as 'dense locations'.
Operators face many challenges when deploying small cells outdoors
For the purposes of our new white paper on small-cell deployments, we defined small cells as cellular base stations that can support up to 128 users and are deployed in private and public spaces outside the home. An operator's decision to deploy them will be influenced by several factors, including the:
* Amount of data that its users consume
* Quality of experience (QoE) for users at dense locations
* Operator's spectrum frequency holdings
* Amount of spectrum it has available to support connections.
Operators are well versed in deploying and maintaining macrocell networks, but not small cells. Deploying small cells outdoors is not straightforward and operators face many challenges, including finding suitable locations for installations, providing backhaul, network and traffic planning, and minimising opex associated with large numbers of small cells (see Figure 1).
The deployment of each small cell can be very different. For example, the challenges affecting a small cell deployed at one site can be very different from those affecting another small cell deployed less than 100m away. Many of these interrelated challenges become more complex to manage and mitigate when the operator needs to deploy thousands or tens of thousands of small cells, and the costs escalate.
Vendors need to provide flexible small-cell solutions that can adapt to each set of unique challenges
Operators cannot address all of these issues themselves – they will need external support and expertise. Vendors can mitigate operators' small-cell deployment challenges by deploying and managing small cells cost-effectively, maintaining and enhancing users' mobile data experience, and facilitating seamless handover and traffic planning. They also need to provide multiple backhaul options, including microwave, V-band, E-band, GPON, Ethernet and xDSL, a small-cell portfolio consisting of multiple form factors, support for multiple technologies and multi-spectrum and network planning tools.
Gareth Williams, Manager and Chris Nicoll, Practice Head