Light Reading
Service providers need the tools to integrate and manage the proliferation of small cells and Wi-Fi

4G World 2012: Getting Small Cells Under Control

Carol Wilson
10/29/2012
50%
50%

CHICAGO -- 4G World -- The explosion of small cells in the wireless network promises the ability to give consumers more capacity, using the existing wireless spectrum. But that explosion won’t help wireless operators compete, if they don’t also get the management tools and integration needed to control how their services are delivered over that last network segment.

That was one conclusion of today’s Small Cell Summit, at which a series of speakers and panelists agreed that all forms of small cells -- including unlicensed Wi-Fi -- have a growing role to play but could be a growing headache to operators pursuing the Holy Grail of “Quality of Experience” for their end users.

Six million small cells have been deployed, almost double the number from a year ago, says Andy Germano, VP Americas for the Small Cell Forum Ltd. , which will be formally announcing the new numbers later this week.

The forum’s new chairman, Gordon Mansfield, executive director of small cell solutions and RAN delivery at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), adds that the critical thing is that “all of these have to be kept under control of licensed network operators, so we can make sure we control interference” and its impact on QoE. Mansfield sees the integration of different technologies and security as two other potential barriers for small cells at the edge of the network.

The Small Cell Forum, formerly known as the Femtocell Forum, is now working harder to represent the wireless operators’ issues, including putting an operator in its chairman seat and adding carrier execs from Asia and Europe as vice chairmen. But as Mansfield made clear in his presentation and on a later panel -- which he shared with Edgar Figueroa, CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance -- the Small Cell Forum is also working with standards bodies, including 3GPP and the WiFi Alliance, to develop the standards and APIs required for enabling integration of services over multiple technologies.

In fact, if the event had another theme, it was the need for Wi-Fi and small cells to be integrated into a solution that enables each to serve its purpose without interference, possibly through partnerships with wireline operators or other entities.

While there was general agreement that Wi-Fi is here to stay, there was also concern about the interference resulting from deployment of too many hot spots and the chaos faced by customers left to navigate the Wi-Fi jungle on their own. Multiple speakers advocated using network intelligence to direct devices to the appropriate small cell or Wi-Fi network based on their location, their application and the current level of network congestion or available bandwidth.

Figueroa touted his organization’s Passpoint initiative, which he says will enable “advance capabilities for auto network selection and auto security” and will leverage intelligence to auto-select network services, provision subscription services and enable roaming.

Without management, Wi-Fi is more of a nightmare, says Robert Riordan, executive vice president and director of corporate development at Nsight , which owns Wisconsin-based Cellcom Inc. , a wireless operator that just finished a successful small cell trial.

“We are about two or three years later than we wanted to be, but we rolled out a small cell on CDMA, underneath a macro cell,” Riordan says. “We’re not as excited about Wi-Fi -- there is way too much unmanaged Wi-Fi out there.”

Even Riordan agreed he would be willing to partner with a Wi-Fi provider if it was a managed service. That’s an option many speakers agreed on -- that partnerships with wireline providers such as telcos, cable companies or wholesalers -- would also make sense for wireless operators and potentially get them around the other small cell challenges. Those include having to widely deploy cells that meet local regulations, and get backhaul capacity to each small cell site.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flash Poll
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (7) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV – Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business – Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Packet Design asks network professionals how they handle the cloud, SDN, and network management.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
Is Windstream Boldly Setting a New Trend?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/29/2014
Sprint, T-Mobile: The Price War's On
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/30/2014
Pics From Comic-Con -- Honest!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/30/2014
If Not Muni Networks, Then What?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/28/2014
Utilities Drive Connected Cars Into the Smart Grid
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 7/31/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed