Friday 8 February 2013

Small Cells on the Lamp posts and other street furniture

A lot of discussions, especially in the UK are focussed on lamp posts and other street furniture that will be used to host the outdoor Small cells or Metrocells. Some new players / operators are using the opportunity for land grab as its being called.

In a recent discussion Andy Sutton, Principal Network Architect, Network Strategy, Architecture & Design, EE discussed some of the problems that are faced with the so called lamp posts deployment. An example given was that of Birmingham in UK. See below:

As can be seen, only in this one city there are 7 different types of lamp posts. Each of them requires a different type of Small cell, different planning permission, different risk assessments, etc. For each type there is a need to check how sturdy the pole is, how will the backhaul be provided, are there enough power points that can cater for the small cell and other electrical furniture (eg microwave backhaul, or electronic sign, Christmas lights, etc.). There is also a need for metering so that the electricity can be charged separately.

Edinburgh, Scotland for example does not have enough lamp-posts for Small cell deployments, so there is a need for alternative strategy. In Belfast, Northern Ireland, the lamp posts are controlled by one central switch. When they are switched off there is no power to the pole.

I am not even going to discuss about the planning issues as there are too many and needs its own dedicated post. My post from the Small Cells Global congress last year list some more issues. My favourite being that in the US, Small Cells should be in bullet proof casing due to too many guns being around.

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