Will Franks, Ubiquisys CTO and Co-founder, talked at this year’s Small Cell World Summit about the latest trends in data usage. Where is the recent explosion in data usage taking place? Is the focus on outdoor solutions relevant to usage patterns?
Part 2 will take a look at our new smart cell, and how it helps to address current issues, reducing the load on the core network.
Taking a different perspective on small cells and introducing smart cells, a hot topic.
Small cell segments and names
Segments can be split by environment. Traditional solutions prior to the data capacity revolution were really all about voice coverage. This includes femtocells. That doesn’t mean that the changes haven’t been dramatic. For example in enterprise, using femtocells delivers a total cost of ownership of one quarter that of using DAS or picocells.
The explosion in data usage has changed the market and changed the names we use.
In the metrozone there has been a lot of excitement about putting cells on lamp-posts but the fact is that 70% of data is consumed indoors. Operators have already responded by deploying a large number of indoor metro cells around the world.
In rural and remote areas, small cells are providing cost-effective coverage, often using satellite where no fixed broadband is available for backhaul.
Small cell market size
Some market numbers courtesy of ABI Research. They show that enterprise is the biggest segment by revenue. Most important though is the relative size of the segments – indoor is where the majority of activity lies.
Metro indoor segment
It’s the sweet spot segment because :
- It’s where most data gets consumed
- Sites are abundant, particularly at existing WiFi hotspots
- RF isolation makes spectrum re-use easier than outdoors
Ubiquisys has more than 50,000 of these cells already deployed, primarily in Asia.
Metro indoor example
Here’s a snapshot of the conditions our indoor metrocells are experiencing. The environment is defined by smartphones, making-up over 90% of the phones using the cells. This leads to an inevitable pattern of usage:
- Data dominates voice
- Up to 10,000 data sessions every 24hrs
- Up to 50 signalling procedures per UE per hour
- High mobility – time in cell 7 to 30 mins
In most cases these figures are from 16 call units, but the figures show that the voice rating of the small cell is almost irrelevant.
Small cell snapshot of user activity
Shows that unlike macro, indoor small cell is dominated by data. In this 9 minute period, data is shown in purple, voice+data is orange and voice-only is in green. Each row is a different mobile device. You can see that some users are in almost constant data transmission.
Managing cell capacity
There is a basic trade-off between how much data capacity each user gets and how many users can be supported. But it’s not quite as simple as that.
The public access small cell challenge
The real challenge is about meeting KPIs in a highly variable environment, and dealing with high traffic situations gracefully, without leaving users in limbo.
Ubiquisys technology employed
ActiveRadio – how we make small cells zero touch and simple, for cells designed for all environments, from home to hotspot.
ActiveCell technology is specifically designed for high traffic open access environments. It enables public access small cells to take autonomous action to ensure the network KPIs that ensure user experience are met.