Small Cell Network Design: How to make it Simple – Learn more at MWC!
Originally published in the Small Cell Forum blog, available here:
The process of planning, deploying and maintaining enterprise small cell networks needs to be significantly simplified in order for large scale deployments to be economically feasible.
As with any new technology, small cells are poised to solve many of the issues facing the wireless industry at the moment but they also bring with them their own set of challenges. Based on discussions we’ve had with major players in the industry, the following challenges were recurring nearly everywhere we asked.
CHALLENGES OF SMALL CELL NETWORK DESIGN
- Scale of Deployments
The sheer scale of deployment that is being envisaged, and even committed to by many operators. What it means is that the present way of planning and deploying macro and DAS sites cannot be the same as for small cell sites. Everyone says so, but established methods and procedures are not always easy to change.
- Backhaul Connectivity
I believe we’re past the hype phase but there sure is a lot of marketing momentum around small cells. But is there adequate backhaul capacity in the metro/access core, and is there adequate connectivity right to the edge of the radio transceivers? And it’s not just capacity. What about synchronization as we’re increasingly dealing with packet-based circuits?
- Convergence of Technologies
We’re talking about 3G, LTE and Wi-Fi working as one HetNet. We’re talking about outdoor macro and small cells interacting much more closely, and advanced self-organizing algorithms making it all smarter.
- Interference Mitigation
Specifically between the macro network and the small cells. Many operators we’ve talked to are particularly concerned about this point. SON might help but that may take a while. So that is an important challenge that needs to be taken into consideration in planning and deploying small cells.
- Collaboration across Environments
Less technical than the previous ones but certainly important. Mobile and Wi-Fi are usually handled by different groups of people, either inside a company or across companies with often very different approaches to networking. Same with folks involved in outdoor networks from in-building sites. Bringing all this together calls for increased collaboration, and again that is easier said than done.
Let’s take a closer look at challenge #1 – scale of deployments – why this is occurring and how to overcome it.
In terms of volume, we can expect a small cell volume of at least 10 times that of DAS. According to Joe Madden from Mobile Experts, 168,000 indoor small cells have already been deployed in enterprise and indoor urban sites and that is just scratching the surface. But they’re very different animals so for those of us used to deploying macro or DAS networks,
MACRO / DAS
- Engineering Driven
- Large/complex venues
- Select number of sites
- Weeks to plan
- RF expertise
- High cost
- Manual network optimization
- Heavy approval process
- Field Driven
- Small to medium venues
- High volume of sites (>10x)
- Hours to plan
- Field/IT personnel
- Low cost
- Self-optimizing network (SON)
- Streamlined approval process
CHALLENGE: CONTINUED ENGINEERING IMPLICATION WITHOUT BEING A BOTTLENECK
iBwave has had extensive discussions with industry leading operators, equipment manufacturers and system integrators on the space that small cells will occupy within the wireless ecosystem in the near future.
Based on these discussions, we have taken a new and radical approach using mobile devices to ensure small cell deployments are intuitive, simple and inexpensive. We’re excited to give a sneak peek of this brand new product during Mobile World Congress and look forward to hearing the industry’s feedback, especially from our colleagues in the Small Cell Forum.
PRESENTATION: SMALL CELL NETWORK DESIGN. MAKE IT SIMPLE.
Benoit Fleury, iBwave’s savvy VP Products & Innovation will be presenting twice in the Small Cell Zone during Mobile World Congress. He’ll be going over the real-world challenges of small cell planning and deployment as well as demo’ing iBwave’s new mobile app that enables complete small cell network designs on-site.
Tuesday February 25, 3:00-3:30
Wednesday February 26, 1:30-2:00
COME SAY HELLO
Can’t make it for either presentation? Get a demo at the iBwave booth from one of our friendly sales engineers anytime during the show.
Hall 7, Stand 7C71
JOIN US FOR A COCKTAIL
We’re hosting a cocktail and we’d like all of our small cell friends to be there! Co-hosted with SOLiD, Cisco, MCCI and ip.access.
Wednesday, February 26
4pm to 6pm at our booth
Hall 7, Stand 7C71
We hope to see you in Barcelona!
- Wi-Fi Design Strategies in a Converged World Webinar Questions Part 4: Industry Related Questions - December 4, 2017
- Wi-Fi Design Strategies in a Converged World Webinar Questions Part 3: iBwave Products - October 5, 2017
- Wi-Fi Design Strategies in a Converged World Webinar: Your Questions Answered. - August 9, 2017