Small cells

Small Cells Key to LTE, Analyst Says

Small, compact base stations in the form of Femtocell, Picocell, and microcells will be key in the initial phases of next-generation mobile broadband deployments, says In-Stat . (See Who Does What: Femtocell Services.)

It’s still a maturing market, but operators are installing Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMax base stations in existing 3G locations because it’s a quick, easy, and cheap way to achieve broad coverage, says In-Stat analyst Allen Nogee. Most operators are expecting to launch commercial services this year or next. (See 2010: Year of the Femto and DoCoMo Seeks LTE Femto Suppliers.)

A new class of more compact base stations will enable the pico and micro base stations to be even smaller, cheaper, and more power efficient than ever, Nogee adds. While some of these devices have been around for years, such as the indoor pico and microcells, they’ll start to take on different roles in 4G.

Others, like enterprise femtocells and outdoor metropolitan picocells, are an entirely new class of base station. Companies like Freescale Semiconductor Inc. , Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), Percello Ltd. , Picochip , and DesignArt Networks have only begun developing semiconductors for these base stations within the last year, but they represent a viable alternative to such traditional silicon vendors as Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN). (See Challengers Shake Up LTE Chips , DesignArt Boosts 4G SoCs, picoChip Scores $20M, Ships 1M Chips , and Multicore Processors Target LTE .)

In-Stat is projecting that annual femtocell shipments will reach 31.8 million by 2014, and worldwide annual revenue will grow at 83.6 percent from 2009 to 2014. Carrier-installed metropolitan picocells will grow at 378 percent in the same period, while microcell base stations will only see a compound annual growth rate of 14.2 percent.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:22:15 PM
re: Small Cells Key to LTE, Analyst Says

This is where I think things go off the rails.


So, there is not enough money in laying out high speed wireline broadband in an area. &nbsp;BUT, there is enough money to lay out a fiber infrastructure to tiny cells for incredibly fast wireless broadband.


Oh...good luck with THAT business case.




Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 4:22:15 PM
re: Small Cells Key to LTE, Analyst Says

Yes, but I think the backhaul issue here is with the outdoor varieties of femtos that are aimed at metro deployments -- &nbsp;they are supposed to somehow tap into the DSL or cable broadband in the network. And if this kind of small cell is for LTE, then would the existing DSL or cable broadband provide enough capacity to backhaul the LTE traffic?


shygye75 12/5/2012 | 4:22:15 PM
re: Small Cells Key to LTE, Analyst Says

With femto, doesn't the onus for providing "backhaul" fall to the end-user who installs the device? As in, the femto requires a wireline broadband connection to work.

kevkevkjkj 12/5/2012 | 4:21:57 PM
re: Small Cells Key to LTE, Analyst Says

I think you'll need an ethernet link speed connection or some dedicated bandwith so you'll be able to have a high data rate to handle all the traffic.

Then you'll need to distribute it throughout a city. That's the challenge.

Like you said, the femto cell has issues because the DSL and cable is shared among all the neighboring houses and apartments, which slows the connection speed.

A cell company will want to offload their traffic through the home network with a femto cell only temporarily because it's an easy fix to the too much downloading problem. But, with time, they'll want all the traffic over their network so they can control every part of system.

It's in their interest to not offload if they don't have to because then they'll have a self-contained network.

re: brookseven..

not many companies are laying out fiber, fast connection speeds, in cities. it costs too much. especially if the city is developed..if you look at the broadband act that was mandated by the govt (ntia or rus broadband) you'll see that the contracts given to fiber deployment are really expensive ($60million) vs. wireless links ($2million).

so the tiny cells (femto or pico) won't have the fast connections. They'll have a moderate speed connection and they'll be many of them so they'll add up to have a fast connection. But the problem is you still need to be able to get them to add up to a fast connection...and that's why michelle donagen asked if there was a fast enough connection through the cable or dsl network to handle the traffic from the femtocells.&nbsp;

the farther a copper line (dsl and cable) travels then their bandwidth (data rate) is lower. there is more frequency dispersion and more path loss. frequency dispersion happens because you have bandwidth and some of the frequency in the band will travel better than others in the same band. kind of like a square wave will turn into a triangle (saw-tooth wave). then it's harder to recover.

so you say, 'let's just put in repeaters.' but then you need repeaters throughout the city. who pays for that? it creates many problems..i.e. what if a repeater fails, it needs power..etc.

so people said forget copper and let's use fiber. fiber is good because it can travel long distances, but it's expensive. so who pays for that?

what is the solution?


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