Small cells bring network closer to user, where and when needed, and are key part of the solutions to the 1000x challenge. But it’s just not about adding small cells; optimizations bring much more out of them.
Bringing the network closer to the user by adding small cells is instrumental in meeting the anticipated 1000x increase in data demand. These Heterogeneous Networks (HetNets) incorporate all kinds of small cells such as femto, enterprise, pico, metro, relays, in addition to the macro cell. To make the 1000x vision a reality, we need self-organizing low-cost small cells supporting 3G/4G and Wi-Fi as well as new ways of deploying small cells at a lower cost.
The residential femtocells are already popular among operators. Actually, there are more 3G femtocells deployed in the market today than macro cells. Typically, these are closed (only allows registered users) and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.’s UltraSON™ suite of tools are essential for proper femto/macro interworking. Going forward, residential small cells will have a much broader role with new deployments models such as open neighborhood small cells.
Neighborhood Small Cells (NSC) is a new deployment model which creates a network of extremely low-cost, plug-and-play, open access, indoor small cells. It not only offers very high indoor capacity but also provides outdoor capacity, and good coverage in the immediate “neighborhood.” It is deployed wherever backhaul and power is available, even by end-users, so it is unplanned/ad-hoc deployed from a radio perspective.
To cost-effectively deploy small cell on a large scale, we need to bring the benefits of more unplanned/ad-hoc deployments to all scenarios; residential, NSC, enterprise, pico/metro. Dense deployments also pose multiple configuration, mobility and coordination challenges. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.’s UltraSON is a suit of self-organizing and management algorithms designed to address these challenges and to realize the vision of plug-and-play, self-configuring and self-optimizing hyper-dense networks. UltraSON enables all deployment scenarios; from residential and NSC, enterprise to metro/pico.
HetNet enhancements such as range expansion increases the utilization of small cells to further increase the overall network capacity. HSPA+ range expansion is possible today, and the future evolutions increase the performance even further by bringing features such as “Multiflow”. LTE Advanced brings multiple dimensions of benefits, including HetNets enhancements and small cell range expansion.
Licensed spectrum is the lifeblood of wireless networks and the industry is working hard to make more available, also in higher bands. Thanks to its low power and future densification, small cells are well suited to take advantage of new and higher spectrum bands, in addition to share the existing bands with macro networks. Authorized Shared Access (ASA) is a new licensing model to free up underutilized government spectrum, that also is well suited to small cells. The converged 3G/4G small cells also leverage unlicensed spectrum with carrier Wi-Fi today and LTE Advanced in the future.
Our over-the-air hyper-dense network demonstrates how UltraSON™ addresses multiple hyper-densification challenges—such as self-configuration, robust mobility and reliable user experience—for all small cells deployment scenarios (neighborhood, enterprise, and metro/pico).
We also work with our partners to bring 1000x closer to reality. The NASCAR™ Sprint™ Cup demo at the Phoenix raceway in March 2014 showcased a real-world hyper dense deployment, equivalent to 1000 small cells per square kilometer. If an ‘unplanned’ deployment works at this challenging environment, it should work everywhere.
Neighborhood Small Cells