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There’s much discussion these days about small cell technology.

5G, of course, has a lot to do with that. Essentially, a small cell is a miniature base station, specifically designed to extend the data capacity, speed and efficiency of a cellular network. These low power radio access nodes can be deployed indoors or outdoors, and use licensed, shared or unlicensed spectrum. They usually have a range from 10 meters to a few kilometers.

Small cells are the backbone of 5G architecture in order to efficiently relay millimeter waves. In 5G, a small cell network is a group of low power transmitting base stations which uses millimeter waves to enhance the overall network capacity. The 5G small cell network operates by coordinating a group of small cells to share the load and reduce the difficulties of millimeter wave transmission such as penetration and short distance challenges.

Small cell technology is also appearing in private networks, which are custom designed for the specific needs of an organization such as an enterprise or local government. They can provide higher quality mobile connectivity than Wi-Fi, and have a more extensive ecosystem of technology suppliers, system integrators and service providers than proprietary solutions.

Cellular devices also have the capability to roam seamlessly between private and public global mobile networks.

With LTE technology, new types of spectrum and the emergence of a new breed of service providers, commercial conditions are ripe for enterprises and government to leverage small cell-based private networks for their business-critical and mission-critical connectivity needs. 

Small cells work similar to conventional cell, however, they are uniquely capable of handling high data rates for mobile broadband and consumers and, for IoT, high densities of low-speed, low-power devices.

Small cells also come with advanced techniques like MIMO, beamforming and millimeter waves for transmission. Low power transmitting stations can be easily deployed using the small cell concept. Moreover, small cell hardware units are designed to reduce complexity, and thus, implementation is faster and easier. 

These small base stations (“transceivers”) are wall mountable for indoor applications, and many of the small towers or lamp posts are outdoors. The backhaul connections are made with fiber, wired and microwave connections, making configuration less complicated than previous forms.

Each antenna (excluding associated antenna equipment) is no more than three cubic feet in volume.

All other wireless equipment associated with the structure, including the wireless equipment associated with the antenna and any preexisting associated equipment on the structure, is cumulatively no more than 28 cubic feet in volume.

Want to learn more about small cells? Tonex offers two Small Cell courses that cover the technology and planning of small cells where coverage and capacity are enhanced along with improved Quality of Experience (QoE), lower latency and delays, flat IP architecture and cost-effectiveness:

Small Cell RF Planning Training (3 days)

Small Cell Training (2 days)

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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