Saturday 21 January 2017

5G Small Cells for Smart Cities

Accenture Strategy highlights Economic and Societal Impact of Investing in 5G Infrastructure in a new Research. A small section is devoted to the role small cells will play in smart cities. quoting from the report:

The key to this new wireless infrastructure is the small cell. Telecom operators are already using 4G small-cell technology in limited deployments today to support increased capacity for new users and Smart City sensors. But the full promise of Smart Cities and 5G requires a robust deployment of small cells.

That is because tomorrow’s wireless networks will require hundreds, or even thousands, of small cells, densely deployed across a city or town, instead of traditional macro cell towers, which are hundreds of feet tall and transmit wireless signals for miles. Complementing the existing macro cell sites, these small cells can be the size of a shoe box and discretely deployed nearly anywhere – from street lamps and utility poles to the sides of buildings.

The approach is similar to the supply-operations concept of distributing dispatch centers across a geographic area to serve customers more efficiently than one main, central warehouse. The approaches have similar benefits:

1 Speed to deliver: Just as numerous small dispatch centers can be located closer to the ultimate destination, and thus provide faster delivery, widely distributed small cells also deliver higher speed, and enable large amounts of data to be more readily delivered to users.

2 Capacity to serve: When a given dispatch center does not have the capacity to serve a certain client within the required timeframe due to the shortage of available resources/products, other nearby centers are able to provide service. Likewise, if a small cell experiences too much traffic demand due to a major event (e.g., an emergency situation in the area), other small cells can help meet demand, preventing the communication interruption that usually occurs with current technology.

3 Specialization and diversification of fulfillment: Just as small niche centers can provide specialized service to a local area, a “small cell” can also provide specialization of service to a large, diversified number of users. With the availability of sufficient numbers of small cells, wireless networks will support both specialized transportation solutions (e.g., vehicle-to-vehicle communication) and specialized public safety solutions (e.g., gunshot detection sensor communication), all while ensuring the best quality of service to other highly critical applications, such as a nearby hospital which requires highly reliable communications (e.g., for remote surgery).

Small cells are already beginning to supplement the operations of existing 4G macro towers, and will initially be the central strategy by which telecom operators deal with this ongoing growth in demand for mobile capacity and coverage ultimately leading to the full-scale 5G deployment that will be required by Smart Cities.

While the benefits of pervasive small-cell 5G technology are highly significant, the real-world logistics of deploying small cells on a large scale must also address the cost, complexity and time involved in deployment...

You can read the complete report here.

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  1. Omar what do you think about we transfer the site responsibility to the smart cities, they become neutral hosts for multiple carriers, do you think they could build cost effective small cells sites, including backhauls, that are tech savvy and also preserve citizens best interest?

  2. Good question. But a) if you are implying (I can't tell) that the City buy the system, that would not be feasible given limited budgets. b) if the carrier builds the site and transfers it to a given City's ownership (with a feasible cost/lease structure) that reduces potential 6409 headaches but design is still a challenge (though the new Ericsson very small cell concept looks very viable); c) some electric utilities don't want to give up ownership of some poles so it is a varying landscape of opportunity.

    The path forward is for Ericsson to design slightly improved multi-band mRRUs; for Ericsson to move forward with the newer small site pole I saw. For cities & counties to push electric utilities on wireless smart electric metering. For carriers to work with neutral host carriers on responsible siting and design (including noise from cooling fans and flashing lights) and to use better antennas (e.g. radomes instead of hanging panel antennas with medusa's hair-like cabling).

  3. Omar thanks very much, keep in mind, when I'm in Linked In I speak as a citizen, on the best interest of people, not specifically leading into Ericsson opportunities, but I appreciate your honest feedback and we always look for way to accommodate the demands from citizens who wants the best communication and also the most low environment impact solutions!