Although primarily a DAS event, this year we heard more talk of Small Cell involvement. There’s clearly a mismatch between the technical demands from operators and the funding sources available to provide them. No major new product announcements, but good networking and discussion of the issues holding back wider deployment.
Internet Wi-Fi is becoming the latest must-have service when airborne. Ben Ash, Special Projects Business Development at ip.access, argues that there is equally a strong case for cellular service onboard. He explains how small cell technology has evolved to deliver cellular service in the sky and highlights key differences between Wi-Fi and cellular service experience.
Growing data demand is driving densification of mobile networks using small cells together with advanced techniques to increase spectrum efficiency. Peak performance requires tight phase synchronisation between cells which is being widely deployed by the more advanced cellular networks. I spoke with Eric Colard, Head of Emerging Line of Business at Microsemi, to learn how they have responded with a new architecture that combines resilience, scalability and performance.
Planning/zoning regulations have been the cause of many delays in deployment of urban small cells in many parts of the US. Activity at state and federal levels is causing strong debate which is leading towards new Federal legislation.
Could wireless service completely replace wireline in some scenarios? Perhaps it depends on just how fast internet broadband needs to be, and whether wireless can perform adequately at lower cost than wired or fibre connections.
Gigabit LTE is becoming a reality today and being strongly hyped at the moment, combining several techniques and frequency bands to achieve headline peak data rates. We review the different alternatives and consider if this is a threat to 5G.
There is a huge range of free OpenSource software and hardware designs for many applications. We looked at whether there’s enough available to build your own LTE small cell and found it wanting. At the moment, you’d be better off buying a professional product unless for lab and experimental purposes. Meanwhile several well-funded projects with substantial support from Facebook and several large operators are planning to change that, ultimately aiming for commercial deployment within major mobile networks.
There are still quite a few areas of the US without any cellular service, even if you ignore Alaska. The FCC has announced a major shift in how $4.5 Billion will be allocated over the next 10 years to address the issue. How will this be used and what are the new rules?
For me, CBRS was undoubtedly the key topic of the MWC Americas event. This lightly regulated 3.5GHz spectrum band using standard TD-LTE cellular service is unique to the US, and will open up a variety of new business models.
A half day seminar by the CBRS Alliance featured several strong supporters and painted a picture of how it will become available and who will use it first.
Three milestones are required before commercial services can commence: