Small cells

AT&T Sings Song of Small Cells With HARP

AT&T is now using a new planning tool to help it smooth out its small cell deployment.

John Donovan, senior executive vice president at AT&T technology and network operations, wrote about the HetNet Analysis and Resource Planning (HARP) tool on the AT&T blog Friday. It is, he writes, a tool created by AT&T Labs to analyze radio waves in order to determine the best positions for the tiny base stations to optimize coverage:

    Analyzing key data points, HARP helps us understand how radio frequency (RF) waves move and work in a small cell environment. It identifies where small cells should be placed and recommends a backhaul solution -- all with the goal of delivering an optimal customer experience and maximizing capacity and coverage.

Donovan notes that the operator has already been using the tool in the field. For instance, HARP has been put to use at a high-rise small cell deployment in Chicago:

    At a high-rise building in Chicago, we deployed more than 10 small cells across three floors to boost coverage and capacity for a customer. Since then, mobile traffic on our network at that location has increased significantly per hour. Best of all, the small cells have successfully boosted the indoor area to nearly 100 percent usable coverage.

AT&T has started its small cell deployment with 3G base stations. It intends to move to "multi-mode" units that can spit out 4G LTE, 3G HSPA+, and WiFi over time.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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chuckj 11/11/2013 | 3:47:42 PM
Re: Perpetual science project Telco's unlike power companies, thrive on oversubscritpion, it is their business model, so there is no compeling need for small cells.  Somebody at Cisco ought to get fired for this.  They should have known this.
MordyK 11/11/2013 | 3:16:19 PM
Re: Perpetual science project Precisely! Small cells is an entirely new architecture for a mobile network, so while it is thenature of startup entrepreneur's to under-estimate the time and difficulties to market they are usually right in the long term, and in this case they appear to have only been about 3 years off.
DanJones 11/11/2013 | 2:13:29 PM
Re: Perpetual science project Already have more operators testing out the Intucell stuff than they ever did the Navini tech.
DanJones 11/11/2013 | 2:09:37 PM
Re: hmm They are now saying they have initial deployments in 18 states.


The more interesting question might be when the 4G LTE and multimode (cell/WiFi) units will arrive in the network.

Trying to find out more on that now...
pdonegan67 11/11/2013 | 12:36:23 PM
Re: Perpetual science project I'm going to break the habit of the last two and a half years here and take issue with a negative posting on small cells.

"The perpetual science project" is a perfectly fair description if you look at where we actually are today in the public access small cell stakes and compare it with where we were predicted to be two or three years ago (or even earlier this year) by some of the unspeakable twaddle that was being bandied about by some vendors and analyst firms.

But looking forward, I'm convinced that public access small cells won't remain a science project in perpetuity. The model will start to be got right and deployed in volume at some point in the next couple of years. So far that reason, Cisco's investments in this segment were certainly early but I wouldn't have thought anyone at Cisco merits being fired.

Navini was an absolute howler (as we told them at the time). But (maybe notwithstanding the price-tag) Intucell has a lot more potential for Cisco, I would think.




sineira 11/11/2013 | 12:16:36 PM
Re: hmm 50.000 new sites, and they have done one.I'm a bit sceptical they will make anywhere close to that number by end of 2015.
The Site Acquisition challenge is tremendous.

That aside, this type of small cell deployment basically replaces a traditional DAS solution. The DAS vendors should be afraid.
chuckj 11/9/2013 | 9:48:44 AM
Perpetual science project This perpetual science project destroyed picochip and mindspeed, and I wonder if anyone been fired at Cisco over their acquision in this sector.
dwx 11/8/2013 | 8:00:36 PM
Re: hmm I think it is like those tools on steroids. It can apparently use 3D information to take into account obstructions so it is not just using a standard radius for signal strength. That is where the fancy mathematical models come into play. It also tells them where to put outdoor vs indoor, can use backhaul availability for site selection, etc.
Sarah Thomas 11/8/2013 | 5:10:07 PM
Re: hmm I need to figure out which high rise this is and go check it out...
DanJones 11/8/2013 | 3:52:45 PM
Re: hmm Strikes me as similar in concept to the WiFi planning tools that came up with Aruba and Airespace et al.
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