Mobile operators, what’s your optimum mix of macro and small cells?

Nokia Siemens Networks combines market-leading small cell products and services to help operators monetize mobile broadband

Nokia Siemens Networks is launching a new package of services to ensure operators have the most profitable blend of macro and small cells. The company is also launching a new, second-generation 3G femto access point that provides mobile coverage in the home or small office. Both launches are additions to the company’s Liquid Net portfolio, aimed at allowing capacity to flow through networks to provide mobile operators the best return on investment.

To support the huge growth in demand for mobile broadband*, operators are under pressure to expand the capacity of their radio networks. One option is to use ‘small cells’ which provide additional capacity in small areas of high demand. This compares to traditional ‘macro cells’ where a user’s nearest base station can be hundreds or thousands of meters away. Heterogeneous Networks (HetNets)** are combinations of multiple cell sizes, technologies and frequencies which form multi-layer networks. This makes them more complex to plan, deploy and optimize than today’s conventional networks.

Nokia Siemens Networks’ Services for HetNets aims to help operators optimize their mix of macro and small cells. It includes hotspot analysis, as well as small cell planning, optimization, deployment and management. Services for HetNets correlates data from a range of unique tools and resources, including the company’s Smart Labs. Once a capacity hotspot has been identified, device types, application use, subscriber location and radio frequency conditions are analyzed to forecast the required capacity and most appropriate upgrade plan. Existing macro cells are optimized applying the company’s 6-sector site concept and Active Antenna system to maximize macro cell capacity, before appropriate small cell technologies are deployed in indoor and outdoor locations. These could include femto, pico and micro cells, Wi-Fi and in-building solutions such as distributed antennas, all aimed at relieving mobile traffic congestion.

“Based on the insights provided by our Services for HetNets, we can advise how best to use the latest technologies to enhance the existing macro network, and effectively plan the integration of small cells to ensure that operators meet traffic and user demands today and can cope with the needs of tomorrow,” said Jan Tjurin, head of network planning and optimization, Nokia Siemens Networks. “Commercial deployments have shown that this phased approach can deliver greater capacity and enhance user experience. It can also help reduce total cost of ownership by up to 20 percent, compared to taking a simple ‘either/or’ approach and blanketing an area with small cells.”

To further strengthen its small cell portfolio, Nokia Siemens Networks is also launching a second-generation 3G femto access point – the FAPr-hsp 5110 – for improved voice coverage and data access in the home or small office. This energy-efficient device consumes less than 5 watts, supports up to eight simultaneous calls and full HSPA uplink and downlink data speeds, and can be remotely managed by the network operator.

Nokia Siemens Networks has already achieved 16 commercial contracts for femto and WiFi/ Smart WLAN solutions and is involved in more than 37 trials with all its small cell products, including the award-winning Flexi Zone. Flexi Zone will allow operators to deploy up to 100 access points in one zone, yet appear as a single base station to the rest of the network, thus significantly boosting capacity whilst overcoming interference issues in dense urban areas and limiting the TCO of adding more cells.

For more information about Nokia Siemens Networks’ advances and innovations in small cells, LTE, CEM and other topics, please join our #1GBperday$ webinar series starting on October 4, 2012. Registration for the series is open now: 

To share your thoughts on the topic, join the discussion on Twitter using #1GBperday$, #smallcells and #mobilebroadband.

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Mobile operators, what’s your optimum mix of macro and small cells?