Qualcomm Technologies, has announced an intent to collaborate on 5G NR-enabled small cell technologies with Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), a non-profit organization engaged in applied research and technical services.
The effort is expected to accelerate delivery and global commercialization of 5G NR small cell products and infrastructure by Taiwanese original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and original design manufacturers (ODM).
“This joint effort with ITRI is a key part of the investments we are making in Taiwan to ensure the industry continues to move rapidly toward deployment of 5G NR technology,” said Jim Cathey, senior vice president and president, Asia Pacific & India, Qualcomm International, Inc. “Supporting rapid innovation of 5G NR small cells by OEMs and ODMs in Taiwan is a major step towards enabling much anticipated 5G experiences and will result in faster time to market and lower cost.”
“Small cells will be a key component of 5G networks, delivering enhanced performance utilizing both mmWave and sub 6 GHz spectrum, and we are looking forward to working closely with Qualcomm Technologies as a global leader in end-to-end 5G development,” said Dr. Tzi-Cker Chiueh, General Director, Information & Communication Labs, ITRI. “This new collaboration will provide ITRI early access to Qualcomm Technologies’ key 5G small cell technology, including the creation of industry-grade quality assurance capability for communication protocol product and a live network test bed to enable product testing and performance verification under real world environment prior to product launch field trials. It places local companies and Taiwan in a leadership position to drive 5G networks of tomorrow.”
Small cells are commonly used in densely populated areas, such as city centers, airports, sports venues and shopping centers to provide supplemental capacity in those areas. Small cells are also often deployed in homes, offices and other indoor or outdoor areas for coverage enhancement.
To cater to such varying deployment use cases, small cells come in various forms, such as femtocells, picocells and microcells – each variant offers varying levels of capacity and coverage area. Small cells can be deployed either in a distributed (or standalone) architecture or in a centralized architecture with remote radio heads (RRH).
Small cells including RRH will be needed to realize the full potential of 5G and are particularly well suited to support a wide range of spectrum bands including sub-6 GHz and mmWave (e.g., 28 and 39 GHz); and to support hyper-densification with expanded capacity and coverage, especially in challenging indoor environments. Small cell innovation will also be a key enabler for new types of deployments, both in mmWave and sub 6 GHz bands, such as private 5G networks, neutral hosts and fixed wireless.
“As a worldwide leading manufacturer of telecom and broadband equipment, Sercomm has devoted significant R&D resources in finding innovative solutions to deliver enhanced telecommunication services. Through the collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies and ITRI, we look forward to continuing technology innovation on the path to 5G,” said Ben Lin, Chief Technology Officer, Sercomm.
“MOEA is very pleased to see the collaboration among Qualcomm, ITRI and Taiwan companies in 5G small cell development,” said Dr. Ta-Sheng Lo, Acting Director General, DoIT/MOEA. “It is an imperative example showcasing how Qualcomm and Taiwan can collaborate to bring innovative technologies to the market quickly and transform our industry to the next level.”
It becomes important to note that Taiwanese manufacturers have played a key role in the development of the global small cell ecosystem from the inception of the technology.
Qualcomm Technologies has engaged with and relied on various Taiwanese partners over the years to develop 3G and 4G small cell products to serve global operators and OEM customers. Through delivering 3G and 4G small cell platforms to vendors and operators around the world, Taiwanese manufacturers have built the reputation and expertise required to scale the market effectively and deliver quality platforms cost effectively.
Taiwan is well suited to be at the forefront of 5G small cell development – driving products that will improve experiences of wireless consumers around the world.
“Zyxel is at the forefront of the drive to create connectivity for telcos and service providers, business and home users,” said Wayne Hwang, VP of Service Provider Business Unit, Zyxel. “Today’s announcement is a major milestone towards enabling an end-to-end 5G ecosystem and Zyxel is proud to be engaged with Qualcomm Technologies and ITRI on this exciting project.”
“MitraStar is a well-known R&D oriented design & manufacture service company in the competitive mobile and fixed broadband market. According to MIC report, we are number one in shipping quantity for small cell products worldwide,” said Frank Yeh, Mobile Broadband Access Business Unit Head, MitraStar. “We have confidence to take the challenge, through a strategic partnership with Qualcomm and ITRI, to deliver leading 5G NR mmWave small cell solutions.”
In addition to supporting extreme mobile broadband application, such as VR and AR, and the massive IoT, 5G small cells can also support ultra-low latency applications. Compared to macrocells, small cell products are easier to deploy, cost effective and can adapt in various form factors to bring faster mobile data speeds in areas where macrocells are unable to reach.