Like many people in the northern hemisphere, part of my summer break was spent at a small regional airport. I watched the arrival and departure of a low cost airline flight and tracked impact on the cellular network during the turnaround. It's a case which is crying out for a simple and cost effective technical solution, and one which a small cell would be ideally qualified to resolve. We discuss some of the practical aspects which might be holding back wider deployment.
In-building cellular service quality appears to have been noticeably degrading over the last year. This is apparent from an increase in dropped calls, generally poor voice connections (especially uplink), intermittent indoor data connectivity, with text messages - even incoming calls - not getting through.
Few new macrocell towers are being built these days. In some countries it's quite the opposite, with site sharing agreements driving consolidation and decommissioning of duplicate adjacent sites. Some are being added to satisfy pockets of poor coverage, especially in rural areas. There are a few regions of the world where further macrocell rollout continues makes good business sense. A further complication is regulatory restrictions on total cellsite RF emission levels, which in at least one country renders the majority of cellsites unsuitable for 4G rollout.
As the Small Cell industry prepares for the industry's annual get together in London at Small Cell World Summit, it seems that the scope and complexity of what the term "Small Cell" means is being wrenched and stretched almost beyond recognition.
We consider if this is this a good or a bad thing, and what the industry could do about it?
Large numbers are often bandied about when it comes to the mobile telecom industry. Impressive growth rates, billion dollar market sizes, and huge investments are often quoted. But it can be easy to get this out of context. We recap some industry statistics and try to get things into proportion.
You might even find the answers include a few surprises.
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- Did you get a Small Cell or a Smartphone for Christmas?
- 2013 Small Cell End of Year Report Card
- Cisco's Big Thinkers ponder the implications of Small Cells
- How Cisco plan to establish themselves as a major RAN and Small Cell supplier
- Network operators should invest in small cells to get out of debt
- ThinkSmallCell End of Year Report Card 2012
- Small Cells Global Congress Report
- HetNet Europe Conference Report - A mix of large and small cells
- Chinese small cell market status August 2012
- Comparison of recent Small Cell and femtocell industry forecasts
- Small Cell World Summit Report June 2012
- Wi-Fi has limits that small cells can capitalize on
- LTE Operator Mindshare on Small Cells
- Small Cells in Latin America
- Verizon Wireless to deploy small cells, already short of LTE spectrum
- Small Cell roundup from Mobile World Congress 2012
- Some thoughts on Mindspeed acquisition of Picochip femtocell chip design business