Field Trial Shows the Potential of Enterprise Small Cells

Next Generation Communications Blog

Field Trial Shows the Potential of Enterprise Small Cells

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor 

For large enterprises, small cells make a lot of sense.

Upwards of 80 percent of all mobile usage now occurs indoors, according to Alcatel-Lucent, and enterprise small cells deliver a flexible and economical way for reliable mobile connectivity in-building.

Recently a field trial held at a large financial institution in Mumbai showed the potential of enterprise small cells. Small cells bathed a 45,000-square-foot, all-glass office space with cellular connectivity that replaced an existing DAS and delivered a call drop rate of only 0.87 percent, an increase in average throughput of 42 percent, and a boost in peak throughput of 82 percent, according to a recent TechZine posting, Field insights: Deploying enterprise small cells,  that went into detail on the deployment.

Impressively, this was done with the use of only nine small cells.

There were five key takeaways from the field trial that large enterprises should note.

First, don’t forget about macro cell connectivity. It is easy to focus on femto-to-femto handovers and overlook macro cells, but ignoring macro cell connectivity can greatly reduce the effectiveness of enterprise small cells deployment.

Second, the field trial found that IP/backhaul expertise helped the small cells deployment meet all key performance indicators despite the fact that the core network the financial center was connecting with was more than 1,440 km away in Delhi.

Third, the trial found that proper advance planning made a huge difference.

“In the Mumbai enterprise, an early solution design called for using 12 cells across the 45,000-square-foot office space. But the initial design was then optimized upfront, based on network expertise and Bell Labs tools, which eliminated 3 small cells,” noted the Alcatel-Lucent blog post. That’s significant.

Fourth, scalability needs to be kept in mind when it comes to enterprise small cells. Enterprises often need to expand capacity, and not all small cells configurations can scale to meet extra demand later on. But proper small cells architecture can enable scalability as needed.

Finally, the field trial found that reliability should be a point of focus when designing enterprise small cells configurations.

“The most reliable enterprise small cell solutions avoid single points of failure,” noted the Alcatel-Lucent blog. “Each of the nine cells used in the Mumbai financial institution operates independently. That makes sure that any failure is isolated and does not affect the rest of the network.”

Enterprise small cells deployment makes a lot of sense. But the devil is in the details.


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