OnQ Blog

Ubiquitous 5G experiences with small cells

Brought to you by the Qualcomm FSM Small Cell Platform

Oct 15, 2018

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

As the 5G era dawns and mobile experiences become supercharged by multi-gigabit speeds and ultra-responsiveness, Small Cells are becoming foundational. Small Cells are ideally suited to help deliver 5G connections where they are needed most. They can be leveraged to even address the most crowded environments like stadiums and train stations, improving economics for mobile operators and therefore opening the door for more affordable data plans. Small Cells are far from a new phenomenon, having begun deployments with 3G, and ramped significantly with 4G, they are now poised for a significant growth with 5G.

Role of small cells increases with each G

There is little doubt that mobile network operators will need to include Small Cells as a key component of their strategy for 5G network rollouts, as they are crucial for delivering reliable and consistent experiences for their subscribers. Simply stated, 5G Small Cells equate to more reliable coverage, better spectral efficiency and improved overall network performance & capacity, creating an opportunity to lower cost-per-bit. Imagine downloading a 5GB HD movie in a few seconds before you get on an international flight, without having to worry about data caps or overage costs.

The importance of including Small Cells as a key element of 5G deployment strategy is underscored by 5G mmWave. mmWave holds enormous potential for speed, capacity, and low latency, but is impractical to deploy via macro network given propagation characteristics that limit the ability of mmWave to penetrate walls, trees, buildings, or other structures. For consumers to receive the full benefits mmWave promises, dense deployments of Small Cells will be required, especially indoors where most data is consumed.

The large bandwidth opportunity for mmWave

When it comes to 5G network deployments, there is really no one-size-fits-all. Small Cells can be deployed indoors and outdoors and be used for mobile connectivity as well as fixed wireless access (providing high-speed internet to homes and venues, in place of fiber or coax). To address various use cases and deployment scenarios, Small Cell deployments can span distributed and/or centralized 5G deployment architectures. Whether distributing the processing with all-in-one integrated small cells or centralizing it by providing 5G coverage and capacity with Remote Radio Heads (RRH), Small Cells need to be an essential part of 5G network planning to help ensure uniform experiences for users.

5G opens the door for new RAN architectures

Qualcomm Technologies, of course, is no stranger to 5G or Small Cells. Like many of our inventions, the Qualcomm FSM Small Cell Platform is already at the heart of many operators’ Small Cell deployments, and is facilitating competition, innovation and global category growth. Moreover, the platform supports many of the latest innovations from LAA and CBRS to LTE-IoT. Now, at the cusp of the 5G revolution, Qualcomm Technologies is ready with a foundational Small Cell solution, designed to provide the flexibility to address key spectrum types, deployment options, and indoor/enterprise requirements.

Introducing Industry's first 5G NR solution for small cells and remote radio heads

Since the introduction of the FSM100xx solution at Small Cell World Summit earlier this year, excitement has been growing. Check back here or subscribe to our Networking/Wi-Fi newsletter to see more news about this solution in the coming months.

Qualcomm FSM and Qualcomm Snapdragon are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.


Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Puneet Sethi

Sr. Director, Product Management at Qualcomm Atheros, Inc.