The Challenges in Deploying Smalls Cells and Macro Cells in 5G

As 5G deployments continue to gain momentum all over the world, network densification will also become increasingly integral to deployment. The use of small and macro cells will play a key role in 5G connectivity, along with more distributed edge nodes, as a way to supplement 5G coverage and to optimize overall TCO for operators.

Leading the Way for 5G: Small Cells Deployment – The impact of codeless provisioning automation in small cells deployment.

The need for densification will help propel faster data rates, which will take us from megabits to gigabytes per second, as well as significant decreases in latency, lowering it from tens of milliseconds to milliseconds. The current 4G radio access network (RAN) is already close to ten times denser than that of the 3G network, a trend that will continue all the way through 2022 prior to the overtaking of the growth trend by 5G-ready systems.

While macro cells helped handle the majority of mobile traffic on the 4G network, small cells have also helped improve connectivity close to the consumers. Ultimately, 5G will need to be ten times denser than 4G, which is a big challenge to overcome through the deployment of small and macro cells.

The Issues Around Location and Cost for Small and Macro Cells

Many mobile network operators (MNOs) have spent billions of dollars on various frequency bands within the same physical locations and aim to get the most from their purchases via carrier aggregation. Today, 4G already requires reliable RF performance along with low passive intermodulation, low loss, and high inter-band isolation, and 5G will also require these. Carrier aggregation also requires the use of as many as three to five licensed bands simultaneously, with MIMI technology included for maximal capacity. Together, all of these demands can be expensive to meet, and conflicting factors can also make it difficult.

There are many different sizes, shapes, and configurations for small cells installed in geographical locations. Elements of small cells can vary depending on the city or even within the same neighborhood depending on the area’s specific requirements, including the need to provide connectivity for all users within the same area. In many cases, the requirements for small cell installations can influence their physical structure in a horizontal and vertical space, which can make them awkward to implement. Small cell structures may appear on roofs, dedicated poles, in utility poles, or even within street furniture such as benches. At the same time, people want aesthetically pleasing and unobstructed scenery, making concealment a necessity for many installations in public areas. Other factors such as weather can also influence the specifications for installations.

When deploying both small and macro cells, there is also a lack of automation and standardization that makes it even more difficult to efficaciously install and maintain these cells. 

The Need for Automation and Standardization

To help facilitate the demands for small and macro cells, automation and standardization will be vital in the deployment of 5G. With automation and industry standards in place, there will be several benefits, including:

  • Quality assurance through the considerable reduction of manual turn-up and activation issues.
  • A faster deployment that allows operators to reach the 10x increase factor without hiring additional staff.
  • Automated orchestration and configuration of the virtualized infrastructure and network elements provide network elasticity and expanded coverage, and enhances QoE at a lower cost.     

By reducing the reliance on specialized hardware, operators can also lower Capex and Opex while increasing service delivery, allowing scalability on demand, and responding to the network conditions and user needs in real-time. In turn, operators will be able to accommodate 5G and dynamic services. 

In the end, a combination of automation and standardization for cell deployment will make the world more 5G-capable and pave the way for the future of connectivity. To learn more about the benefits of improved cell deployment and to find out how our reliable telecommunications solutions can help your business, contact us today.

Leading the Way for 5G: Small Cells Deployment – The impact of codeless provisioning automation in small cells deployment.

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