How Nokia is Driving Big Network Advantages with Small Cells


Today’s Small Cells technology is delivering Big Advantages to a telecom network and sitting at the helm of it, Nokia is elevating innovation in connectivity with the help of small cells.

As small cell is becoming ideal solution to leverage both cellular and Wi-Fi technologies, mobile network operators (MNOs) are looking up to this technology in order to augment their network capacity and coverage, offload data from macro networks, and offer innovative new services to their customers.

Amit Marwah, head of E2E Sales Solutioning , Nokia India speaks with Zia Askari from about the various offerings that Nokia has in the small cell space and how operators can do more with their networks by deploying the right small cell solution.


As more and more telecom ecosystems look for providing better coverage and increasing capacity for their customers – how can small cell deployments help in this direction?

Nokia Technology Vision 2020, predicts a 1000x traffic growth in Mobile Broadband compared to 2010 level requiring a 10x increase in capacity. Majority of these will be small cells concentrated in the outdoor urban areas, enterprise and public indoor locations.

Right now, we are experiencing a phase where Small Cell deployments are moving from coverage to capacity deployments. Majority of the capacity small cell underlay will be done using LTE & Wi-Fi and we saw large scale small cell deployments starting in 20154/2016 focusing on Public Indoor, Enterprise segments & Street level hotspots / hot zones.


What kind of solutions and offerings do you have in this direction?

Nokia Flexi Zone based small cells solutions supports all frequency bands including LTE-U/LAA/LWA and run on the same software as macro networks (macro parity) which is key for path towards ultra dense networks. It means MNO can benefit from all the macro capabilities (including smart scheduler) for best performance and ensure lowest impact small cell O&M. It also means easy access to latest HetNet features (Interference management like Dynamic Load Blancing eICIC, etc..) to provide best performance in HetNet.

Flexi Zone range of Outdoor and Indoor Micro/Pico BTS are the industry’s smallest yet highest capacity products.

Flexi Zone award winning controller architecture address most of the large / dense small cell deployment challenges with a unique approach that aggregates up to 100 small cells per cluster yet look like a single eNodeB from the rest of the network.

It significantly reduces small cell TCO (50%) by aggregating all cells interfaces/lowering O&M/Transport/Core/backhaul requirements while providing virtually unlimited scaling capability & zone based RF interference management for performance boost.

Flexi Zone is now also the most versatile & lowest TCO small cell solutions in the market for all indoor/outdoor coverage/capacity use cases. In indoor locations, Flexi Zone can use existing LAN cabling (even with data on it) making it a very attractive and low CAPEX/OPEX indoor small cell solution.

With Liquid Applications integrated to the controller, Flexi Zone can also provide value added enhanced edge services.

Leveraging Wi-Fi as HetNet 4th radio access technology is becoming of increased importance in MNO’s strategy.

Adding a few Small cells into a network is simple, making the network work as a seamless HetNet providing great capacity and user experience is more difficult. Nokia has all the ingredients to making of true HetNets :

Our HetNet features work with existing devices. LTE Dynamic Load Balancing eICIC, Dowlink interference shaping & Load based dynamic Wi-Fi traffic steering (Dynamic ANDSF) are both unique and deliver unmatched HetNet performance gains.

Services for Hetnets capabilities can provide up to 20% savings in small cell investments with the most powerful and complete set of tools in the industry combined with expertise for planning and optimizing the small cell deployments.

We have industry leading iSON increasing automation & simplifying HetNet optimization.


What are some of the big advantages that your solutions bring to an operator ecosystem?

Smart Wi-Fi provides operators the visibility and tools to exploit managed Wi-Fi as a seamless extension to their cellular network and ensure best network selection according to business strategy and network loading

Award-winning Flexi Zone is the industry’s 1st small cell capacity solution for cost-effective deployment of indoor or street level small cells underlay, bringing significant capacity increase in busy hot spots and hot zones. Flexi Zone Micro & Pico are the industry smallest all-in-one Micro and Pico to provide full macro parity & macro like capacity significantly reducing HetNet integration. They can be deployed initially as stand alone cells for hot spots, and then software evolve to the zone architecture for supporting densification and hotzones.

Unique Services for HetNets helps operators to get the most cost-effective and efficient mobile broadband network by enhancing the existing macro cellular layer and targeting roll out of small cells and Wi-Fi to deliver virtually unlimited capacity and coverage when and where needed.


Femtocell solutions for homes, small offices and public areas allow operators to improve the coverage and quality of 3G or/and 4G mobile broadband services, and at the same time offload data traffic from the macro network.

Flexi Lite BTS is a small 3G base station optimized for an outdoor micro-cell environment to help improve coverage or add capacity in hot spots.

Globally, there are a number of governments that are going in for enabling smart cities – how can small cells play an important role in  terms of pushing this enablement at a fast pace?

Citizens and business are expecting broadband wireless access as a given, outdoor in public places as well as indoor in public and private spaces. In addition some city devices and sensors or gateways might also need wireless network access.

A lot of cities are deploying, often free of charge, WiFi services in public spaces and often face the following issues:

When the end user uses someone else’s WiFi network, the provider not only loses customer visibility, but also the possibility to offer differentiated services and security.

Free WiFi services without cumbersome registration on the access point yields issues with secure and trusted network access and auditing.

In a nutshell, deploying small cells enables operators to meet the objectives of providing superior coverage and quality while reducing the overall footprint of the macro layer in crowded urban environments, reducing carbon footprint all while helping to respond to citizens’ demands for a better communications experience.

To reach these benefits it is essential to facilitate the deployment of small cells, defining a dedicated administrative procedure that make the installation much easier and faster than the macro-base stations. Cities typically deploy WBA in public venues (buildings, sport and cultural venues, parks, digital info kiosks, …), indoor private spaces (e.g. for own administration) and public transport infrastructure (metro and bus shelter).

The unique density and coverage of street furniture (bus shelters, metro lines, street lights) in city centers makes them an ideal medium to usher in the development of “smart city” policies and the creation of an ecosystem capable of further improving the quality of service provided to users and citizens.

What are some of the future-ready innovations that are being driven by your organization in this space?


Nokia through its Advanced Mobile Network Solutions extends wireless broadband access coverage and capacity to hotspots, notspots and indoor locations. Nokia has small cells solutions in licensed and non-licensed spectrum covering 2G/3G/4G/5G for IoT and WiFi supported by Mobile Edge Computing solutions.


The Nokia Advanced Mobile Networks Solutions extends wireless broadband access (WBA) coverage in outdoor and private spaces. Any combination of 4G (Small Cell) and/or WiFi are offered in licensed and unlicensed spectrum with a range of different authentication methods.

They improve the aesthetics of the environment and thus the public’s general perception and acceptance of wireless networks in several ways:

These small unobtrusive devices blend in with their environment and address communities aesthetic concerns brought on by cell towers.

Moreover, they not only use up to 70 percent less power than macro cells, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but they also make the cellular network more efficient by decrease the power consumption of nearby macro cells and by prolonging the battery life of mobile devices by making it easier for them to connect to the network.

Through our extensive mobile networks and small cells portfolio we provide cellular (including unlicensed MuLTEfire™) and Wi-Fi coverage and capacity to outdoor and indoor locations. With standards-based cellular protocols such as ECGSM, NB-IOT and eMTC, we provide Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) capabilities for IoT applications.