Effective October 1, 2012, QUALCOMM Incorporated completed a corporate reorganization in which the assets of certain of its businesses and groups, as well as the stock of certain of its direct and indirect subsidiaries, were contributed to Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of QUALCOMM Incorporated. Learn more about these changes

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Small Cells

Qualcomm Research is driving innovation in small cell technology that simplifies or eliminates RF planning (thus allowing plug-and-play) in deployment of small cells with a suite of Self-Organizing Network (SON) features. These features, under the UltraSON™ brand, run on Qualcomm’s small cell chipsets (FSM) developed by Qualcomm Atheros.

Small cells can be deployed in various locations for coverage or capacity enhancements. When small cells are deployed in high density with additional spectrum, it is possible to increase overall network capacity beyond 1000x of today’s macro networks.

Small cells can be classified into the following 3 categories:

  • Neighborhood Small Cells that are deployed in residential areas and leverage existing premises and backhaul to greatly reduce Capital Expenditure (CapEx) and Operational Expenditure (OpEx)
  • Enterprise small cells that are deployed in office buildings
  • Metro or picocells that are deployed mainly in outdoor public venues and hotspots such as stadiums, airports and also on lamp posts

Our UltraSON feature suite is being developed to enable different types of small cell deployments with minimal or no RF planning. Each deployment scenario has its own characteristics and challenges and UltraSON can be customized for each scenario to address its needs.


  NSC Enterprise Metro/Pico
Tx Power Low Medium Medium
Deployed by Customer Contractor / IT Technician Operator/Contractor
Backhaul Consumer-grade Commercial Commercial to carrier-grade
Access Open/Hybrid1 Open/Hybrid1 Open


1 Restricted access can be supported if needed.


To validate the UltraSON features, we started to deployed throughout our San Diego campus a number of 3G small cells which are now migrated to LTE. These small cells, deployed at various indoor and outdoor locations, provide coverage on the whole campus with seamless handover supported. This is a dense small cell deployment with inter-site distance as low as 15 m. This network has been used to demonstrate the benefits of some UltraSON features at industry tradeshows including Mobile World Congress and Small Cells World Summit.