How Small Cell Forum is Helping Telecoms Deliver Practical and Profitable 5G

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Small Cell Forum has published a series of practical working guides to make densification using small cells a commercial reality, both for today’s 4G and for future 5G networks.

These latest outputs go further than ever before in articulating the work the Forum is undertaking to increase the success of current small cell technologies, while applying knowledge gained to ensure that networks of the future are practical and profitable for all parties concerned.

While 5G standards are still being defined, it is clear that network densification is fundamental to meeting the cardinal requirements of high capacity, low latency and 100% coverage. These new outputs outline SCF’s activities in addressing technical, practical and commercial barriers to densification which include:

· Engaging with enterprise vertical markets – articulating the benefits of small cells and providing guidance on installation and operation. Formation of an Enterprise Advisory Council (EAC) allows enterprise members to directly interact with Forum members.

· Detailing new ownership models – densification involves more stakeholders with a more complex value chain to be established: Not just operator and consumer, but the enterprise, landlord, IT services, site services, neutral hosts, backhaul providers etc. SCF’s Business Principles group gets these people talking around the same table.

· Defining scalable, repeatable deployment process – SCF is working on simplified and harmonised installation standards and lobbying for global adoption by regional policy makers and local authorities.

· Hosting Interoperability testing for key technologies such as small cell SON.

· Building practical and commercial experiences into future technologies for 5G – including standards for small cell NFV, and work on MEC, x-haul, mm wave, spectrum sharing, neutral hosting

“The mobile industry is in agreement that network densification is fundamental to adding capacity to today’s 4G networks, as well as building out the foundations for 5G,” said David Orloff, Chair of Small Cell Forum. “However, this can’t happen without the physical deployment of more network assets, the technologies to manage them and the testing to make them interoperable. These guides provide an informed perspective on the real-world experience of deploying 4G that will ensure 5G hits the ground running.”

As well as identifying and expanding upon the key role densification will play in driving future networks, these publications detail what it takes for operators and the enterprise to commercially deploy a Hyperdense network today; including comprehensive explanations of regulatory, logistical and operational considerations.

The Release highlights the success of SCF’s crucial ecosystem building activities thus far, including clarifying pre-deployment requirements for – and the value proposition of – small cells. The Forum has taken the lead in defining standards, deployment and operation, lobbying regulators and policy makers to cut red tape, driving consensus where fragmentation is stalling process, educating the market and conducting IOP testing to ensure interoperability.

“Small Cell Forum embodies joined-up thinking that ensures small cell technology is not just performant, but practical and profitable too,” said Sue Monahan, CEO Small Cell Forum. “The Forum has a cross-functional approach, allowing our activities’ to span operations, business principles, market concerns, technology (particularly concerning applicability to 5G) and interoperability. We are constantly at work to make sure the best possible solutions are being deployed. Whether it is our activities in devising scalable, repeatable deployment processes to lower cost and lead time or building these practical and commercial learnings into future technologies such as 5G.”