& cplSiteName &

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        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Cisco: Mentoring Critical to Attract & Retain Women

7|19|17   |   6:40   |   (1) comment


Liz Centoni, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco's Computing System Product Group, shares why mentoring in all its forms is important for women and what Cisco is doing that's made a difference for women in tech.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit LTE With Snapdragon 835

7|12|17   |     |   (1) comment


At an event in Wembley stadium, EE used its live network to demonstrate gigabit LTE using a Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip.
LRTV Custom TV
Implementing Machine Intelligence With Guavus

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guavus unites big data and machine intelligence, enabling many of the the largest service providers in the world to save money and drive measureable revenue. Learn how applying Machine Intelligence substantially reduces operational costs and in many cases can eliminate subscriber impact, meaning a better subscriber experience and higher NPS.
LRTV Custom TV
Unlocking Customer Experience Insights With Machine Intelligence

7|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


When used to analyze operational data and to drive operational decisions, machine intelligence reduces the number of tasks which require human intervention. Guavus invested in Machine Intelligence early. Learn about the difference between Machine Learning and Machine Intelligence.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon VP Talks Network, Career Planning

7|12|17   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Heidi Hemmer, vice president of Technology, Strategy & Planning at Verizon, shares how bold bets and the future of tech define her career.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Masergy's NFV Journey

7|11|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Watson, vice president of global technology at Masergy, discusses the advantages and challenges in entering the still-maturing NFV market for the past three years.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Mavenir on RCS Cloud Platform & Multi-ID

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Guillaume Le Mener, head of marketing and corporate development at Mavenir, discussed RCS and the recent launch of Multi-ID, which supports T-Mobile's DIGITS, the revolutionary new technology that breaks down the limitation of one number per phone and one phone per number.
LRTV Custom TV
ADTRAN Executive Outlines Trends in Next-Generation 10-Gigabit Cable Networks

7|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Hossam Salib, VP of Cable and Wireless Strategy at ADTRAN, outlines key trends as MSOs begin to deploy next-generation Gigabit and 10-Gigabit cable networks. In the interview, Hossam outlines the advantages of a Fiber Deep architecture, FTTH options including EPON and RFoG, and the importance of SDN and NFV in building next-generation high-bandwidth cable networks.
LRTV Interviews
Global Capacity: Bandwidth Demand Driving Ethernet Growth

7|6|17   |   6:37   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event in Austin, Texas, Global Capacity's VP of Marketing Mary Stanhope talks about how the demand for bandwidth is changing the way service providers deliver broadband services.
LRTV Interviews
Colt's Services Chief on Digital Delivery

7|5|17   |   16:12   |   (0) comments


Rogier Bronsgeest, the chief customer experience officer (chief CEO!) at Colt, discusses the way in which the service provider interacts with its customers these days and his aggressive net promoter score (NPS) targets.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
BT VP: Women Should Fill Security Talent Gap

7|5|17   |   6:00   |   (2) comments


By 2020 there will be six security jobs for every qualified worker, and Kate Kuehn, vice president of Security for BT in the Americas, says BT wants to encourage women to fill the shortage in jobs.
LRTV Interviews
Colt Sales Exec on Services Trends

7|4|17   |   12:59   |   (0) comments


Colt's sales director for enterprise, James Kershaw, sheds some light on the services currently in demand and how network upgrades are influencing customer demand.
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Mobile to Power Online Video Consumption – Zenith
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 7/19/2017
Can Mushroom Sprout in Crowded SD-WAN Field?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/18/2017
AI Will Be Ubiquitous in 2020 but Overhyped in 2017 – Gartner
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 7/18/2017
Facing the Facebook Video Threat
Gary Miles, Chief Marketing Officer, Amdocs, 7/17/2017
Comcast Accelerates Into 15 IoT Markets
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 7/18/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Fuzzy Quick Fix Click Here
If you can't access it, is it really broken?
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.