“5G is Synonymous with Small Cells”: SCF


Spotlight on Small Cells | TelecomDrive.com

As telecom operators look towards evolution of networks – Small Cell Forum believes that 5G is synonymous with Small Cells and it is extremely important to build the foundations for 5G now. This encompasses the end to end network including the core, transport, front haul, and radio network.

David Orloff Chair of Small Cell Forum speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the forum’s key priorities and how it is helping telecoms enable greater profitability with Small Cells.

At a time when telecommunications space is undergoing transformation and telecoms are embracing 5G – what are some of the key priorities that Small Cell Forum is having today?

The Small Cell Forum continues to focus on Hyperdense Networks and the Enterprise with an emphasis on 5G and the crucial role that small cells will play. Some of our most critical work items currently are focused on regulatory barriers, shared operator networks, Edge Computing, as well as our nFAPI specification updates. Our purpose is to ensure that 4G & 5G Small Cells can be deployed with uniformity and cost effectively for Operators.

What are some of the big trends and updates in Small Cell space that telecoms should look forward to embrace in the near future?

5G is synonymous with Small Cells.  We see a lot of deployments currently in Asia, and specifically China, with North America not far behind. Operators need to stay ahead of the traffic as all of the 5G related services become available so that they are not having to rebuild the highway after the demand is already in place.

Therefore it is extremely important to build the foundations for 5G now. This encompasses the end to end network including the core, transport, front haul, and radio network. A linear gradual investment allows for a cost effective approach that will ensure that we are prepared for the new applications and the traffic that those applications will bring.

How can telecom operators gain from Small Cell deployment while considerably enhancing their coverage and capacity in a cost effective manner?

There is huge opportunity within the enterprise environment. The Forum still see the majority of traffic as being in-building. There is a clear balance for investment in the high capacity urban areas along with the enterprise. Additionally, we expect some frequency tradeoffs between mmWave and sub 6GHz between capacity and coverage.

What is your opinion on SON and how can interoperable and multi-vendor SON systems can become critical enabler for telecoms today?

As the number of cells in a network increase, SON becomes more and more critical for cost efficient operation. This includes Self Organizing so that new cells can be implemented efficiently as well as Self Optimizing for efficient network performance. We effectively see multi-vendor SON systems now between Centralized SON and SON at the Radio.

How can the role of Small Cell be enhanced in future-ready IoT and 5G scenario?

5G is all about enhanced mobile broadband, ultra-reliable and reduced latency, and massive machine connections. IoT should make use of all of these components. It is really about being able to customize the service as needed for the specific application so that the network can be most efficient while meeting all of the needs of the customers. All of the working groups in the Small Cell Forum have the focus to ensure uniformity and remove barriers for small cell deployment.

Where are some of the most innovative small cell deployments happening today – what lessons can be learnt from these deployments?

There has been a number of innovative deployments happening. The Small Cell Forum showcases case studies from our members on our website. There has been a number of good examples from Europe related to Operator shared networks. And, we are starting to see deployments paired with Edge Compute applications.

How can Small Cell deployment future-proof a telecom network and help them generate greater profitability by enabling enterprise connectivity?

We have been working diligently in our Tech & 5G working group on Edge Computing architecture. We are now kicking off a work item in the Business Principles working group supporting Edge Monetization. There will be Operator value in both the Enterprise and the Outdoor environments with Edge Computing that will ensure that the power of 5G is utilized effectively and with a focus on profitability.