Thursday 28 May 2020

Drivers and Enablers for Large Scale Small Cell Deployments

In the Cambridge Wireless Smart Cities & Small Cell seminar last year, Andrew Entwistle from New Street Research talked about "Small cells around the world: an analyst’s perspective". His presentation is embedded below (with permission). What I wanted to share with you was this one slide (pic above) looking at the drivers and enablers for a large-scale small cell deployment.

Interesting to see that even though there is a lot of potential for outdoor small cells in Europe, the enablers are not there, thereby making it difficult for a large-scale small cell deployment. 

With regards to the USA, I have posted about their small cells deployments many times. The thing is that the definition for small cell in the USA includes small form factor. So a small site with RRH would be considered a small cell. Anyway, check out these posts here and here.

Presentation as follows:

Related Posts:

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Passive and Active Infrastructure Sharing

I have written about Network sharing before here. In that particular tutorial, my main focus was to explain Active Infrastructure / Network Sharing mainly. So the focus was on two most common approaches, MORAN and MOCN. The Passive Infrastructure / Network Sharing can be a bit involved as well depending on the agreement between the different parties. Here, let's focus on this.

Quoting from the GSMA whitepaper:

Passive infrastructure sharing is where non-electronic infrastructure at a cell site, such as power supply and management system, and physical elements such backhaul transport networks are shared. This form can be further classified into site sharing, where physical sites of base stations are shared and shared backhaul, where transport networks from radio controller to base stations are shared. Passive infrastructure sharing is the simplest and can be implemented per sites, which enables operators to easily share sites and maintain their strategic competitiveness depending on the sites shared. Operation is also easier with this form of sharing because network equipment remains separated. However, the cost-saving potential of sharing is limited relative to other forms of sharing.

Active infrastructure sharing is sharing of electronic infrastructure of the network including radio access network (consists of antennas/transceivers, base station, backhaul networks and controllers) and core network (servers and core network functionalities). This form can be further classified into MORAN (Multi-Operator Radio Access Network), where radio access networks are shared and dedicated spectrum is used by each sharing operator, MOCN (Multi-Operator Core Network), where radio access networks and spectrum are shared, and core network sharing, where servers and core network functionalities are shared.

As in the case of site sharing, MORAN and MOCN can be implemented per sites and enables strategic differentiation. However, operation of network equipment needs to be shared (or at least issues must be shared with participants) and therefore increases the complexity of sharing relative to site sharing. The cost-saving potential is greater than site sharing. Core network enables greater cost-saving potential but is complicated to operate and to maintain strategic differentiation. It is important to note that core network sharing has not been popular and only a few cases have been suspected to be so.

The pros and cons for different sharing types can be seen in the table above.

This old presentation from 2014, explains the pros and cons of the two passive sharing approach nicely

Passive sharing: Site + tower sharing

  • What is shared?
    • Cell site
    • Shelters, towers
    • Power, A/C
    • Security for buildings and systems
  • Potential advantages
    • Cost sharing for site acquisition, infrastructure, lease, maintenance, power
    • Reduced network footprint
  • Potential drawbacks
    • Entrants may not benefit if they lacks own sites to offer
    • Costly to negotiate and implement when established networks are being consolidated

Passive sharing: Backhaul

  • What is shared?
    • All elements of site sharing
    • Backhaul links: cables/fiber, leased lines, microwave
  • Advantages
    • Cost savings in equipment cost
    • Cost saving in deployment
      • Joint-digging of trenches (70-80% of costs)
      • Microwave links – reduced license fees
    • Faster deployment timeframe

The presentation has examples from different parts of the world and also pros and cons of active sharing. Check it out here.

Related Posts:

Monday 4 May 2020

Samsung's 5G NR Integrated Radio for mmWave spectrum

At MWC LA last year, Samsung Electronics announced its new 5G New Radio (NR) Access Unit (AU) supporting 28GHz spectrum. This new AU brought together a radio, antenna and digital unit into one compact box, making it according to them, the industry’s first 3GPP compliant integrated radio for mmWave spectrum.

According to Samsung, by integrating these RU-DU technologies with 1,024 antenna elements for mmWave spectrum into one compact box, the new AU can be more easily installed on streetlight poles and building walls, providing operators a faster, simplified way to build out 5G networks.

The AU is also able to deliver an capacity of 10Gbps throughput, enabling operators to deliver higher 5G NR speeds to more users. Additionally, improved cost-efficiency is achieved by eliminating the need for ‘fronthaul’ fiber connections, thanks to the AU’s integration of the digital unit.

This video explains it nicely.

In addition, Samsung recently also announced that it has achieved the industry’s fastest 5G speeds in a lab demonstration that combined 800MHz of mmWave spectrum with MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) technology, running on their AU.

According to their press release:

Using two test mobile devices, the demonstration achieved approximately 4.3Gbps speeds on each, reaching an industry peak speed of 8.5Gbps across both devices. In order to achieve the speed, two key technologies were used: carrier aggregation and MU-MIMO.

This demonstration highlights the key difference of 5G – its use of mmWave spectrum. The wide bandwidth from mmWave spectrum enables mobile operators to provide multi-gigabit speeds that lower band spectrums are unable to match. With multi-gigabit speeds, users can experience transformational 5G mobile services. Mobile operators will be able to deliver new and rich services such as 8K video streaming, AR remote learning and holistic VR teleconferencing as well as new use cases that are yet to be imagined.

Finally, this Tweet by Samsung Network shows how the AU uses an ultra-quiet convection cooling design that lowers operating costs and environmental noise.

Related Posts: