Category Archives: Wireless Networks

What the Future Bodes for Small Cells: An Operator Perspective

The market awaits the arrival of outdoor small cells, but the wait continues. When small cell deployments will happen keeps sliding from one year to the next. I have always thought that some in the industry have been too optimistic on small cells deployment timelines and they have ignored important facts that define the deployment timelines and the… Read More »

Energy Consumption in Wireless Networks: The Big Picture

I recently came across a presentation on advanced antenna systems with the statement: “advanced antenna systems for power consumption savings not for capacity.” I was very intrigued for a couple of reasons. The first is how much of a problem is power consumption in wireless networks is. The second is that I recalled a conversation I had over… Read More »

A Quick Tour of SON Basics

If operators are really serious about HetNets, then network operations cannot remain as usual. Deploying hundreds if not thousands of small cells is an operational nightmare that cannot be left to manual processes which is what operators do today. Automation becomes critical – and it has a name in wireless network: self-organizing networks (SON). So let’s take a… Read More »

LTE-Advanced, 3.5 GHz, Small Cells and Neutral Host Services: A Powerful Mix to Abundantly Increase Network Capacity

At a recent GTI event in Japan, Huawei demonstrated 770 Mbps peak throughput in a market trial of LTE-Advanced in 3.5 GHz spectrum. This was achieved with TD-LTE access mode with carrier aggregation. The trial showed 500 Mbps average throughput over multiple sites. Furthermore, Softbank demonstrated the ability to provide 1.2 Gbps peak throughput using 5-carrier aggregation in… Read More »

New FCC Rules Give 60 GHz a Boost

The FCC enacted changes to Part 15 rules for the 60 GHz band (57 – 64 GHz) that will give a boost to different types of data backhaul applications. In a very significant move, the FCC increased the allowed transmitted power for 60 GHz systems deployed in point-to-point configuration outdoors. This will improve the competitiveness of V-band millimeter… Read More »

Carrier Wi-Fi: What is it?

With more mobile network operators using Wi-Fi to complement their radio access networks, one begs the question: how’s “carrier Wi-Fi” different from the one I have at home? What exactly is “carrier Wi-Fi”? While there is no proper, or exact, definition for carrier Wi-Fi, I think it’s more important to realize that the definition has been evolving with… Read More »

New Frontiers in Personal Communications (and Investment Opportunities!)

In the late 1880’s, Heinrich Hertz’s experiments with wireless signals were in the VHF/UHF bands (60 to 500 MHz). The first transatlantic transmission in 1901 by Marconi was either around 850 kHz or in the neighborhood of 100 kHz: he simply did not have reliable equipment to measure the frequency. With these modest starts, advances in communication system… Read More »

Small Cell World Summit 2013: Wireless Analytics to the Forefront

The Small Cell World Summit just concluded, so I would like to summarize my thoughts and impressions from this event. For a little perspective, the conference is sponsored by the Small Cell Forum, which was called the Femto Forum before it rebranded in February 2012. In alignment with this new vision, the 2013 edition of this conference featured… Read More »

When Will Small Cells Be Deployed? A Case Study of Critical Strategic Planning Options for Mobile Network Operators

This case study was designed to help answer important questions related to small cell deployments. It is based on a traffic forecast and capacity planning tool developed to aid operator strategic planning activities. The tool can also be used by vendors and other ecosystem players to map their product offering and plan for small cell deployments. Demand for… Read More »

The Shifting Paradigm of Mobile Network Operations

The deluge of demand for mobile data has been much discussed and talked about. News is abounding with figures, quotes and graphics of the increasing consumption (about doubling every year) and its projection to the future (anywhere from 10-25 time increase within the next 4 years). On the other hand, there has not been much discussion on what… Read More »

Cloud RAN vs. Picocells: The Need for Integrative Approach in Next Generation Network Design.

When it comes to deciding on deploying small cell base stations, one is faced with a few options. One option is based on cloud RAN architecture with remote radio heads connected through optical fiber to a central base station housing the baseband processing. A second option is that of a compact base station which includes both the radio… Read More »

Should Small Cells Be Deployed In Their Own Spectrum Band?

Small cells raise a number of practical implementation questions which are yet to be resolved. One such question is whether small cells should operate in the same frequency band as the macrocell layer (co-channel deployment), or on a different frequency band. The question has profound implications to operators, vendors, and to regulators alike. To clarify, recall that in… Read More »

Mobile Data Traffic Predictions Say: It’s WiFi Offload!

If you’re in the wireless infrastructure business, you’ve seen it many, many times. I’m talking about the predictions showing exponential mobile data traffic growth. Hardly a conference presentation goes by without seeing this graph on the first or second slide. It became customary to preface any discussion with this context, often with the idea to get people salivating… Read More »

Unleashing the Power of HetNets: Interference Management Techniques for LTE-Advanced Networks

In my earlier blog post, The Hype & Reality of Small Cells Performance, I provided a qualitative review of small cell performance and discussed interference scenarios that limit performance. Perhaps the most defining problem of small cell deployments is the large transmit power imbalance between the macrocell and the small cell (~20-30 dB) which increases the potential of… Read More »

The Hype and Reality of Small Cells Performance

Heterogeneous networks (HetNets) consist of large (macro) cells with high transmit power (typically 5 W – 40 W) and small cells with low transmit power (typically 100 mW – 2 W). The small cells are distributed beneath the large cells and can run on the same frequency as the large cell (co-channel), or on a different frequency. As… Read More »