Saturday 16 February 2013

What is a Metrocell? - definition by Alcatel-Lucent

Looking through an old ALU whitepaper, I found another way of describing Metrocell, so here it is:

Metro cells, the latest evolution in small cells, are based on the same low cost femtocell technology that has been successfully used in home and enterprise cells, but with enhanced capacity and coverage. With higher processing and transmit power, the first generation of metro cells is engineered to serve from 16 to 32 users and provide a coverage range from less than 100 meters in dense urban locations to several hundred meters in rural environments. However, unlike home and enterprise cells, metro cells are owned and managed by a MSP and typically used in public or open access areas to augment the capacity or coverage of a larger macro network.

Available in both indoor and outdoor versions, metro cells are plug-and-play devices that use Self-Organizing Network (SON) technology to automate network configuration and optimization, significantly reducing network planning, deployment and maintenance costs. While indoor versions use an existing broadband connection to backhaul traffic to a core network, outdoor versions may be opportunistically deployed to take advantage of existing wireline or wireless sites and backhaul infrastructure, such as Fiber-to-the-Node (FTTN), Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH), Very-high-speed Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL) street cabinets, and DSL backbone.

Since metro cells use licensed spectrum and are part of the MSP’s larger mobility network, they provide the same trusted security and quality of service (QoS) as the macro network. With seamless handovers, users can roam from metro cells to the macro network and vice versa. Metro cells also deliver the same services as the macro network (for example, voice, Short Message Service (SMS), and multimedia services), and support application programming interfaces (APIs), that may be used for developing new, innovative services. In short, metro cells promise to be the ideal small cells for network offloading.

Original post: 3G and 4G Wireless Blog: Macrocells or Metrocells?:

There is one final chance to register for our Metrocells Masterclass in London on the 21st of Feb. Details here.


  1. what is Fiber-to-the-Node (FTTN)& Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH)?

    1. Read the title, FTTN means running a Fiber cable to the Node(b) and FTTH could be running straight to the RNC

  2. Can a Metrocell installation live side by side with a DAS installation in the same building?

  3. Mike, assuming that the SON algorithms in the Metrocell are working properly, they should be able to live side by side.