Small Cells Research
Qualcomm Research is driving innovation in small cell technology with a suite of Self-Organizing Network (SON) features under the UltraSON™ brand. UltraSON features have been commercialized in the US and abroad on multiple operators’ networks through LTE small cells powered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.’s chipsets. While small cells with UltraSON reduce deployment cost, further cost savings and simplification in small cells deployment can be achieved with the Neutral Host (NH) small cell architecture.
Qualcomm Research has completed multiple small cell network trials to demonstrate that UltraSON enables unplanned small cells deployment with increased network capacity and excellent user experience. These trials covered various deployment scenarios (residential, enterprise and metro/picos) from medium to very high density in different regions and multiple operators were involved. Gains over traditional deployments and from UltraSON demonstrated by these trials include 44x capacity gains, up to 90% reduction in handover frequency and 60% improvement in cell-edge throughput. As a result, there are multiple commercial LTE small cell deployments in place with UltraSON and more are coming in the following months.
Today, when multiple operators intend to offer cellular coverage at the same venue, they either have to deploy their own infrastructure separately or consider other alternatives such as Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) or RAN sharing systems. None of these options is very scalable. As the number of operators involved goes up, so do the cost and complexity. The NH small cell architecture we develop for LTE small cells is scalable as a single eNB can serve subscribers from multiple operators on a common channel without the need of duplicated deployment by each operator. The shared hardware reduces deployment costs and takes up less real estate while providing robustness similar to that of regular LTE small cells for the operators' subscribers. Qualcomm Research is collaborating with infrastructure vendors to showcase the NH small cell deployment concept with NH-capable handsets.
The LTE UltraSON suite consists of Self Configuration, Mobility Management, Tx Power and Resource Management and Backhaul Aware Operation feature sets. These features enable different small cell deployments.