Saturday 21 September 2013

The Statutory Hurdle in Small Cell Deployment

A presentation from MLL telecom in our recent event highlights the rules and the requirements from regulation during Small Cells deployments. The regulation hurdles are higher in Europe compared to most other parts due to strict requirements to make sure its not going to affect the character of an area and at the same time not to cause any damage to health and environment. Anyway, the complete presentation is embedded below:

Thursday 12 September 2013

Small Cells to improve service in Disney parks

Slightly old news but I did hear Jim Parker, Senior Manager, Antenna Solutions group at AT&T talking about metrocells and their deployments in the Disney parks.

The original press release from July mentioned the following:

AT&T will add more than 25 distributed antenna systems in an effort to add capacity. It will also add more than 350 small cells, which extend the availability of the network. AT&T is adding 10 new cell sites across the Walt Disney World resort to boost coverage and capacity. And it will add nearly 50 repeaters to help improve coverage of the network.
Chris Hill, AT&T's senior vice president for advanced solutions, said that AT&T's efforts to improve coverage in an around Disney resorts is part of a bigger effort the company is making to add capacity and improve coverage in highly trafficked areas. He said that even though AT&T had decent network coverage already within the Disney parks, customers often experienced issues in some buildings or in remote reaches of the resorts.
"The macro cell sites can only cover so much," he said. "So you need to go to small cells to really get everywhere you need to be and to provide the capacity you need in areas with a high density of people."
Hill said the idea of creating smaller cell sites that reuse existing licensed spectrum is a big trend among all wireless carriers right now. And he said, AT&T is deploying this small cell technology in several cities as well as other areas where large numbers of people gather, such as stadiums and arenas.
"We are deploying this technology widely across metro areas to increase density of our coverage," he said. "And it's not just us. There's a big wave of small cell deployments where tens of thousands of these access points are being deployed all over the place."
Cooperation with Disney is a key element in this deployment since the small cell technology requires that AT&T place access points on the Disney property. The footprint of the access points is very small. They typically look like large access points used for Wi-Fi. Hill said they can be easily disguised to fit in with the surroundings.

One of the other interesting thing (if I understood correctly) that Jim mentioned is that they are deploying Neutral host DAS solution that is open to all operators, whoever is interested in. They are also going to provide three separate charging points that will allow anyone to charge their phones (free of charge, I guess). It is nevertheless an interesting project that should prove HetNet concept. 

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Wi-Fi and Cellular Data - Two sides of the same coin?

Going through a presentation from Small Cells World Summit, Analysis Mason argues that all WiFi activity is not just offload / substitution of cellular data but to a lot of extent its addition too. I completely agree as I think that once users get used to using data on their devices, they are more comfortable in using much more data over WiFi. Of course here I am assuming carrier or public WiFi rather than what is privately used at home or in the office.

To a lot of extent this use of data is encouraged by the operators and the newer and more efficient technologies. Once a 100MB data cap was more than enough for most users while now, most users struggle with 1GB of data caps. WiFi is always an alternative, especially if the data usage is not counted in the allowance or included at a reduced rate.

An article published today, highlights this same points in case of students. Here is an extract from the article, which is available here in entirety:

Data captured by Actix shows that an average university campus will exhibit a daily population of up to 25,000 students who use mobile phones as their social hub.
While this population is much lower than city transport hubs and central business districts, it generates some of the highest levels of daily data and voice traffic.
A university campus will generate 60% more calls per person per day, and 388% more data per person per day compared to traffic in a business district.
Universities also have the highest levels of data upload, accounting for 30% of all data traffic at the location.
Neil Coleman, Director of Global Marketing at Actix, says: “While the ‘more for less’ mentality is hardly new, students as early adopters and power users of mobile provide an important gauge of future trends. Network operators need to accommodate these evolving attitudes to mobile use if they are to continue to deliver effective, profitable networks.”
Actix estimates the demand for data sessions on mobile networks will have increased by a factor of ten by 2015.
To accommodate their increasing data demands, students make greater effort to use Wi-Fi to secure the most data at the lowest cost.
While imperfect in terms of a seamless experience, Wi-Fi is perceived by students to be worthwhile when trying to keep costs down.
However this behaviour has unwelcome implications for mobile operators as they lose control of the customer experience and revenue opportunities when students hop off the network.
“Operators need to get to grips with Wi-Fi, either by finding a way to monetize it or by encouraging subscribers to stay on the mobile network with better quality service and realistic tariffs,” says Coleman. “With heavy uploads and two-way social traffic dominating the modern campus, operators have to prepare for an increasingly social customer base.”

The presentation from Analysis Mason is embedded below:

Related post:

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Building a Sustainable HetNet - Telus, Canada

Came across this interesting presentation from the LTE World Summit 2013, one from Telus in Canada. The presentation is embedded below but here are couple of things that caught my attention:

One of the issues which is now becoming universal is the need to negotiate with the municipalities and local councils for the right to lamp posts and other street furniture. I blogged this earlier as well with regards to a presentation by EE here. This also encourages for a third party to provide small cells hosting as a service (SCaaS)

Another issue generally faced in case of Hetnets is the Interference management in case of shared carrier. Looks like they may be using a proprietary approach for co-channel deployment and similar approaches are possible with basic SON presence in the network.

Anyway, the complete presentation below: