Monday 26 August 2013

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Enterprise Small Cell Architectures

Deployment in enterprise is a challenging task for the operators but it has many benefits hence this is one of the areas they have been working very hard to get it right.
Release 2 from the Small Cells Forum, later this year will provide more useful insights into deployment of Enterprise Small Cells or Femtocells.

One such challenge for Enterprise small cells is the architecture for the enterprise deployments. Handovers play a big part and special care has to be taken to make sure they are seamless with little or no break during handovers.

Embedded below is a webinar from ThinkSmallCell from not so long back which deals and explains the issues. The last slide is the video of the webinar, in case you have enough patience to go through it. Finally, you can also download the whitepaper from Spidercloud on this topic here.

Sunday 11 August 2013

China Mobile's Nanocell

China Mobile prefers to call its Small Cell, Nanocell. I found an interesting summary on this topic from Rupert Baines in the OSP Magazine, some of this information is copied below.

Nanocell is defined by the China Mobile Research Institute (CMRI) as follows: “An integrated Small cell supporting GSM / TD-SCDMA / TD-LTE standards and WLAN (WiFi) solutions. With the key feature of supporting both wireless network and WLAN (WiFi) services, it can be deployed in enterprise, home and high capacity hotspot locations. It also uses standard broadband connection as a low-cost network backhaul, hence reducing deployment and maintenance cost while providing advanced and reliable security features.”

Nanocells, provide mobile coverage to a limited area as well as integrating carrier grade WLAN access points. They are often used to add network capacity in areas with very dense data usage. In some respects they are the next iteration in small-cell evolution.
Although in theory a nanocell could have a range as large as 2km, in most situations it will be less than that: perhaps 100m-500m. As such, a nanocell allows for deployment in locations that are expected to handle more phone usage than usual, for example during a sporting event or concert.
In September 2012, in a pioneering program to develop China’s mobile infrastructure, Mindspeed, the manufacturer of semiconductors for small cell base stations, signed a memorandum of understanding with China Mobile Research Institute (CMRI) in Beijing to contribute to the rapid build-out of China Mobile’s heterogeneous network (HetNet).
A HetNet is constructed with layers of small and large cells including nanocells. These cells will be able to self-organize seamlessly providing a higher quality and consistent connection to the network for users. The aim of this collaboration is to accelerate the field trial of TD-LTE small cell systems across the China Mobile Communications Corporation’s (CMCC’s) network in China.
As noted, CMRI’s definition of nanocell could be described as “small cell 2.0”. There are various architectural enhancements, but 2 in particular are worth describing.
CMRI Enhancement #1 is the integration with Wi-Fi. Some people naively view small cells and Wi-Fi as competitors. But a more sensible approach is to combine them, to take advantage of economies (single power supply, shared backhaul, cheaper provision and OpEx) and to use synergies in the  bearers (for example, handing off traffic between the 2, taking advantage of the extra capacity
of Wi-Fi with the longer range and better QoS from cellular). The Small Cell Forum has been working on this, and it is a key part of CMRI’s nanocell.
CMRI Enhancement #2 is multi-mode. One aspect of a nanocell, which is important to most carriers, is supporting several cellular standards in one node. Much of the cost is per element (siting, installation, OAMP, power, backhaul) so it makes obvious sense to combine them to share those costs and make the best use of the spectrum.
China Mobile is unusual in its cellular technologies. In common with most of the world it has GSM as 2G, but for 3G it uses TD-SCDMA (standardized by 3GPP and a variant on the commoner WCDMA). For 4G, it uses LTE but the TDD flavor (TD-LTE). This is not yet widespread, although estimates are that between 20%-40% of all LTE will ultimately use it. The CMRI nanocell must support these technologies.

Things have progressed well and in the recent Small Cells World Summit 2013, CMRI showed their enterprise deployments that are being tested.

A presentation from the WiFi global congress is embedded below and gives more detailed idea about the Nanocell.