Next Generation Communications Blog

Small Cells

Small Cell Deployments Can Gain from Thoughtful Collaboration

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Mobile operators know that small cells deliver efficient, cost-effective wireless coverage since they can be placed anywhere to add or augment service. But while the technological benefits are not in dispute, actual small cell deployment can be a challenge. The very advantage of small cells is also a disadvantage.

That’s because unlike macro cells, small cells require many deployments and agreements with many sites. Instead of one deployment, there are several. This adds complexity, especially with small cells outdoors.

The numbers bear this out. A recent study by Informa Telecoms & Media found that roughly 60 percent of the operators it surveyed said that deployment problems were the biggest challenge with small cell technology.

Most Mobile Traffic Happens In-Building, and Operators Need to Beef Up Their Support

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Most mobile traffic is consumed indoors, and operators need to get a better grip on serving this market since it is a huge one.

Roughly 80 percent of mobile traffic is now consumed in-building, according to a recent Gartner study, whether mobile bandwidth is consumed in a public space, a shopping mall, or at the office. The total market for in-building services is estimated to be $4.3 billion currently, according to ABI research, and it is expected to grow to $8.5 billion by 2019.

Business leaders recognize the need, too; 72 percent of businesses are interested in enterprise cells that can boost performance on their premises. An Alcatel-Lucent infographic tells the tale.

Most Mobile Traffic Happens In-Building, and Operators Need to Beef Up Their Support

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Most mobile traffic is consumed indoors, and operators need to get a better grip on serving this market since it is a huge one.

Roughly 80 percent of mobile traffic is now consumed in-building, according to a recent Gartner study, whether mobile bandwidth is consumed in a public space, a shopping mall, or at the office. The total market for in-building services is estimated to be $4.3 billion currently, according to ABI research, and it is expected to grow to $8.5 billion by 2019.

Business leaders recognize the need, too; 72 percent of businesses are interested in enterprise cells that can boost performance on their premises. An Alcatel-Lucent infographic tells the tale.

Who's Afraid of Interoperability?

By: Mike Schabel, VP, Small Cells, Alcatel-Lucent

In our never ending quest to deliver higher capacity networks and more effectively deliver a true broadband experience to wireless consumers, our industry continuously engages in vigorous debates about new technology, architecture, and processes followed by rapid acceptance and adoption.

I only look to small cells as an example, where the industry has quickly evolved from a macro-centric view that small cells were an unnecessary nuisance, to the current view where they are accepted as necessary for scaling the network and create compelling new opportunities for network optimization, efficiency and applications. With the small cell debate behind us, we have turned to new ones: How should we use unlicensed or shared spectrum? How do we enable a centralized SON layer in the field that works across multiple vendors?

How to Speed Small Cell Site Acquisition on a Large Scale

By: Jean Jones, Director, Wireless Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

Outdoor small cells are now widely recognized as a great solution for expanding mobile capacity and coverage. And their use is expected to grow sevenfold by 2018.[1] So here’s the next big question: How can you put these cells where they’re needed, faster and at lower cost?

Maybe you’ve already encountered deployment issues, including difficulties with small cell site acquisition. According to an Informa Telecoms & Media survey, nearly 60% of mobile operators say that deployment problems are their biggest small cell challenge.[2] In other words, operators’ top concerns are not about small cell technologies or products. Instead, they’re about the practical aspects of getting these cells up and running on light posts, utility poles, bus stops, buildings and other street locations.

This blog looks at a collaborative approach that makes these deployment processes faster and easier. Alcatel-Lucent adopted these methods for our Metro Cell Express Site Certification Program. And we’re discussing them here, because this business model earned a top award in the small cell innovation leadership category.

Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes says Europe Must Stop its Cellular Race to the Bottom

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

As leaders in Europe debate whether the EU is “back” during the World Economic Forum, the region is increasingly falling behind when it comes to telecommunications, according to Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes.

“There is a real danger,” noted Combes in a recent blog post on Europe’s digital divide (published in the Wall Street Journal, “that Europe is losing ground in the information era.”

That’s because there is an increasing gap between what the latest smartphones can deliver and what Europe’s telecommunications companies can support due to a price war that inhibits infrastructure upgrades.

“Europe is locked in a vicious circle of competition focused exclusively on price, one that forces operators to reduce their investments and destroys their innovation capacity,” noted Combes. “This type of competition is bad news for a digital Europe and its consumers.”

A High-Performance Evolved Packet Core is Essential to Handle Mobile Data Demand

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The glass can be half empty or half full when it comes to mobile broadband.

On the one hand, data usage is growing at exponential rates, and seems to be no end in sight. In fact, it is projected that by 2017, the monthly mobile broadband usage of the average subscriber will reach 5 GB, according to research from Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs.

On the other hand, the emergence of LTE enables operators to more cost-effectively monetize this traffic demand by rolling out quality-of-service (QoS) guarantees for sensitive data traffic such as voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), as well as other data service packages that until recently did not make sense.

Finding the glass half full from the emerging data storm requires some planning when rolling out LTE, however. Network optimization is not a given. While LTE flattens IP traffic and enables new business models it also introduces new problems. Chief among them is increased network signaling rates.

Keeping Up With the Modern-Day Nomads

By Philip Carden, Head of Alcatel-Lucent Consulting Services

Meet the digital nomads, a growing group of heavy mobile data users that's redefining how service providers think about connectivity.

There is a small, but growing, new class of data users amongst us. You've likely spotted one – that man hunched over a laptop at your neighborhood coffee shop, the woman swiping through a tablet in the park, or even that teen on the train whose eyes are glued to a video on his larger-than-average smartphone.

They are the digital nomads. Unlike the hunters and gatherers of the past, these nomads are always connected, regardless of where they are, and their expectations for connectivity have never been higher.

EARTH Consortium Shows the Way to 70 Percent Energy Savings on Wireless Networks

By Mae Kowalke

They wanted to reduce the energy consumption of mobile networks by half. Instead, they developed a framework that cut nearly three quarters of energy consumption.

Led by Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson over the course of two and a half years, the EARTH (Energy Aware Radio and neTwork tecHnologies) consortium of 15 telecommunications providers, vendors and academic institutions developed everything from more efficient components in radio base stations to solutions on the radio network level, according to a press release from Alcatel-Lucent. The research was partially funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7).

In the process, the consortium demonstrated how operators could save up to 70 percent of energy consumed in their networks using a holistic energy efficiency approach for 4G radio communications.

Wi-Fi Roaming Takes the Stage --Get Ready for ANDSF and Hotspot 2.0 Capabilities

Mae Kowalke

The next major cellular technology advancement is on its way. Here comes Wi-Fi roaming.

Cellular users often switch between 3G or 4G networks to Wi-Fi to access the internet, especially as cloud services continue to grow in importance. The switch from a cellular service to a Wi-Fi network is not always seamless, especially when it requires first finding a network and then getting through a login screen.

But a group of new cellular technologies, in particular the 3GPP Access Network Discovery and Selection Function (ANDSF) and Hotspot 2.0, will change that with what amounts to Wi-Fi roaming, according to a white paper, “Wi-Fi Roaming – Building on ANDSF and Hotspot2.0,” jointly produced by Alcatel-Lucent and BT.

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