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Small cells

10 Unusual Places to Stick a Small Cell

Small cells, those low-powered wireless access points you've been hearing about all month here on Light Reading, are all the rage right now.

Their moniker refers both to their physical size -- from small enough to hold in your hand to six cubic feet depending on the type -- and also to the lower power that they emit. Despite not being the largest or the most powerful, they bring plenty of benefits, such as eating up less energy (read: they won't cost an arm and a leg), providing targeted coverage and allowing flexibility in their placement. (See Know Your Small Cell: Home, Enterprise, or Public Access?)

That last point is what we're going to focus on in the following slideshow. Public access small cells are currently being mounted on lampposts and anywhere operators can bring backhaul all over the world, often in urban areas. This means operators will get the most bang for their buck while reaching the greatest amount of people possible, which obviously makes quite a bit of sense, but sometimes sense is overrated. What about creativity and possibility? Where's the sense of adventure?! (See Lessons From Your Friendly Neighborhood Small Cells and Urban Jungle Is Still Too Wild for Small Cells.)

We think people in far-flung locations, travelers all over the world and the occasional hang glider should have just as much access to connectivity. We've gone ahead and picked out where we think small cells should be placed. They may not always reach the masses and backhaul will be a challenge for most, but they'll certainly cover a lot of territory. (See The World's 6 Most Extreme WiFi Hotspots.)

Click on the photo below to see our recommendations for small cell locations, and let us know where else you'd like to stick 'em in the comments.

Great Pyramids
The Great Pyramid of Giza, standing 455 feet tall, is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In 2010, nearly 15 million people visited the pyramids, but the number has declined rapidly since then. Our theory? Not enough coverage. 

[Source: Wikimedia]
The Great Pyramid of Giza, standing 455 feet tall, is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In 2010, nearly 15 million people visited the pyramids, but the number has declined rapidly since then. Our theory? Not enough coverage.
[Source: Wikimedia]


For more on small cells, head over to the small cell content page on Light Reading.


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  • Qualcomm Brings LTE-U to Small Cells
  • Small Cells Enabling Location Services

    — Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, Light Reading

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    TeleWRTRLiz 3/16/2015 | 12:10:56 PM
    You forgot Everest! Since they are small, the loyal Sherpas could haul the gear easily across the Khumbu Icefall's network of ladders. Don't look down though.
    sarahthomas1011 3/16/2015 | 12:22:05 PM
    rural and reallllly remote I'm not sure some of these places are what the Small Cell Forum had in mind when it put outs its release five for rural and remote areas, but hey, why not? Connectivity is becoming essential wherever you are. I imagine backhaul and site leases will be hard to come by, but it's worth a try...
    ErynLeavens 3/16/2015 | 12:54:42 PM
    Re: rural and reallllly remote Exactly! Throwing practicality out the window.
    ErynLeavens 3/16/2015 | 12:55:51 PM
    Re: You forgot Everest! Ooh, great addition, @TeleWRTRLiz!
    R Clark 3/16/2015 | 11:31:54 PM
    Re: You forgot Everest! Can't believe you left out a small cells pun on the Alcatraz one.
    PaulERainford 3/17/2015 | 5:29:07 AM
    Re: You forgot Everest! You're right, Robert, that's a shocking omission. And there'd be no coverage for Free Mobile either. (Not least coz they're French, but hey, that's the best I could come up with at this time in the morning.)
    melao2 3/17/2015 | 9:06:07 AM
    Re: rural and reallllly remote I suppose rural coverage should be established with higher power cells that can cover large areas.

    So one a good solution is a macro site actually, with frequency in the lower side of the spectrum. Here we are thinking about 450Mhz for such cases.

     

    I think it is actually the opposite from what you suggested :)
    KitKilgour 3/17/2015 | 11:33:02 AM
    Re: rural and reallllly remote It depends where you need coverage and how concnetrated it is. Small(er) cells are easier to power by solar panels, for instance, inclding the bachaul - a macro cell is quite environmentally expensive
    KitKilgour 3/17/2015 | 11:40:27 AM
    Re: You forgot Everest! I believe that China Mobile have a microcell somewhere on the way up on the Chinese side - but a little way from the top.

    Similarly (but lower) there is a micorcell at the Junfrau Joch (~ 3400 metres) in Switzerland to provide services to those tourists coming up on the train. However, I have verified that it is (just) receivable on the summit of the Jungfrau itself at 4100m+
    TeleWRTRLiz 3/17/2015 | 11:50:12 AM
    Re: You forgot Everest! What about the Great Wall? I bet there is a small cell there. 
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