If I’m honest, Mobile Edge Computing has seemed to me up to now to be a somewhat academic exercise. But this month sees a full commercial launch by Vodafone Netherlands of a comprehensive and tightly integrated solution. I spoke with NEC’s Yogarajah Gopikrishna, Head of Engineering and Strategy at NEC Europe, who developed and integrated the system based on SpiderCloud E-RAN small cells and their Service Node MEC server.
It used to be simple. Almost all cellular basestations were connected by separate backhaul connections that didn’t use any precious cellular spectrum, whether fibre, copper, point-to-multipoint wireless, point-to-point wireless or satellite. There were a few scenarios which used repeaters. More recently we’ve seen LTE relay and other technologies come into play for outdoor small cells. Here we look at several different levels of inband and out of band small cell backhaul.
Network vendors have enjoyed a recent glut of spending from the initial rollout of LTE, but are now in the throws of a downturn. Dell’Oro Group forecast cumulative revenues between 2017 and 2021 will represent the weakest five year period this century, with $137 Billion of infrastructure spend. Nonetheless, the analyst firm is optimistic about the longer term and expects a return to growth with the initial 5G rollouts towards the end of the period.
One of the areas of confusion and even misinformation relates to control of calls when entering and leaving a building. In the early days of 3G femtocells, hand-in wasn’t supported and hand-out was more by luck than judgment. The situation has evolved considerably by enhancement of the 3G standards and inherent features within the 4G standard. A combination of improved RF planning and SON automation provides a complementary toolkit to address the problem.
When choosing between fibre and wireless backhaul for urban small cells, an important factor concerns the installation time, specialist skillset and durability. A new “plug and play” approach for fibre connections offers to speed up and improve the process.
There was definitely a buzz around the show this year which attracted 108,000 visitors. The scope continues to expand, covering a huge ecosystem from connected cars, identity verification, virtual reality and diverse Apps far beyond its roots in radio technology. The show floor is busy from early doors on Monday through close of play on Thursday afternoon. We report with our focus picking out those aspects of most relevance to the Small Cell industry.
An important, yet often overlooked, aspect of any in-building wireless system is the cost of designing and documenting the installation. Larger buildings have usually required multiple site visits to consider RF coverage, cabling distribution and central equipment. In this article, we look at how iBwave has streamlined this process and illustrate a project where 70% time savings was achieved on survey and design. This paves the way for rapid, cost-effective deployment, while ensuring accurate records for subsequent changes throughout the lifetime of the installation.
Today, UK network operator EE showcased three innovative and complementary ways to provide temporary 4G service in case of outages due to flooding, major incidents and perhaps even for planned events. Adopting a three tier approach, these solutions encompass three different types of vehicle fitted with onboard small cells: rapid response pickup trucks, hexacopters and helium-filled heli-kites. Any of these could make a huge difference by restoring communication when disaster strikes.
Cellular service isn’t purely about ubiquitous connectivity. Network operators strive to find additional revenue streams which capitalize on their communication services. They’ve lost the battle to keep the Internet to themselves – almost every service today apart from voice is provided by someone else, over the top. Nick Johnson of ip.access shares his views on how they might fight and win greater value through IoT, presence and location – combined with Small Cells.