This post is by Carlijn Adema from the Nokia Siemens Networks services team.
Recently, I spoke to an operator who was trying to solve urban congestion issues. Although they’d rolled out several macro layers, their subscribers still suffered from low Quality of Service due to congestion in some areas of the city. Overall there was enough capacity to deal with the traffic demand, but not in specific high traffic areas.
Many operators are considering using small cells to target congestion. But is it as simple as putting a small cell on every street corner? The answer is: not necessarily. Small cells need to be placed close to the traffic demand, so the first step is to identify the capacity hotspots and see what’s happening there. The optimum capacity forecast and related upgrade plans can be made on this basis.
What are users doing in the hotspots?
Knowing what device types are used in a hotspot is essential to check Wi-Fi or LTE capability. In many cases, signaling from some of the latest smartphones and high laptop traffic is impacting network resources in a dramatic way, so operators need to know which devices are most popular in any given hotspot to get an accurate capacity forecast.
Each hotspot has its own application and traffic profile. A business district can consist of a mix of voice, e-mail and browsing traffic. Here the best solution is to add small cells. In some urban residential areas, demand for video is extremely high, and in fact video is expected to account for 70% of the total network resources used by 2016. For these areas, Wi-Fi may be the most efficient solution.
Mitigating macro interference is a key task when deploying small cells, especially if a macro cell is located in the middle of a hotspot. Operators need to do a depth analysis to determine how dominant the macro is in a certain hotspot. Unless this is checked, the small cells can add less value as the phone will automatically try to connect to the congested macro network. In some cases it’s better to upgrade this specific macro cell to LTE.
The hotspot analysis covers devices, applications, satisfaction of users, the way the users move through a city, radio frequency capabilities, traffic type, etc. By correlating data from a number of different resources and using GEO location tools, the small cells can be placed in exactly the right location.
Free the hidden capacity and let it flow
The first goal, prior to planning additional small cells solutions, must be to squeeze the capacity out of the existing macro network and let it flow. This can be achieved by network optimization and introducing Liquid Net features like MBLB and Active Antenna system. This way capacity is delivered where it’s needed the most. At the same time the macro is prepared for the small cells hardware upgrade, for example by down tilting macro cell sectors to ensure enough traffic can be offloaded from the macro to the small cell.
Deploy the right small cell solution in the right place
Based on the hotspot analysis and capacity forecast, the right type and number of small cells, Wi-Fi, and in-building solutions can be planned in the right location to achieve an optimum solution that avoids over and under dimensioning and delivers capacity where it’s needed most. Finally all technologies, cells and layers have to work together seamlessly to keep technology handover faults to a minimum. In one instance an operator was able to save 20% in costs with this phased approach compared to just blanketing the area with small cells. Users were able to get significantly higher speeds as the solutions were placed close to the demand.
Do operators need a small cell on every street corner? Probably not, but Nokia Siemens Networks can help identify the right street corners.
For more information: Services for HetNets
Please Note: Comment Moderation Maybe Active So There is No Need To Resubmit Your Comments