Small cell technology allows wireless to work as intended

Small cell technology allows wireless to work as intended
January 25, 2016  |  BY

If you work in an office, you’ve probably had an experience like this: You’re rushing to a meeting and try to send a file to a prospect or colleague with your smart phone, but it’s not working.

That darn inconsistent wireless connectivity has struck again. You have to go to just the right spot in the hallway or corner or kitchen to sync up. Stand there, hold still and hope for a connection.

Fortunately, that problem is quickly going away with the proliferation of small cells. Currently, you get wireless from modems connected to big directional antennas 150 to 200 feet above the ground, spread a few miles apart throughout the city. That’s why wireless doesn’t always deliver a perfect, always-on connection.

Small cells, on the other hand, provide a network of smaller “antennas” placed throughout the interior of your actual office. Because of their small size, low cost and low transmit power, small cells make sense for companies of all sizes.

Whether you’re in the reception area, lobby, or conference room on the 34th floor, you get consistent coverage.

Small cells aren’t only less expensive than a distributed antenna system (DAS), they also provide dedicated capacity for your employees, no matter if there are 50 or 500 people in the building. Plus, you keep heavy traffic off the macro network, and you get equal transmit power from each location, making it simpler to plan the expansion of your network.

We can thank the transition from big to small with the evolution of wireless behavior. Over the years, as cell plans became less expensive and more people adopted cell phones, service providers began searching for ways to increase network capacity. They also realized that customers were making less phone calls and using their devices more for data – texting, downloading and uploading files, watching video.

For company employees, it’s critical to perform all of those functions as they roam throughout the building. Consider the fact that 80% of all employees in a physical structure now move from place to place with a smartphone in-hand.

Small cells can accommodate super-heavy data traffic anywhere they go.

Of course, there are some technical issues to work out, especially if you want to implement a large-scale, small cell integration into today’s 4G mobile networks. There are questions of planning, deployment, optimization and operation. But we strongly believe that heterogeneous networks (HetNets) and self-organizing networks (SONs) will make small cell deployments possible for every business.

Small cells could be called the wave of the future, but if you look on the coastline that wave is already cresting, with businesses and consumers in for long, hassle-free rides. In fact, none other than AT&T predicts small cell deployments will soon outnumber DAS deployments by 40-to-1. It’s a trend that’s equally beneficial for businesses and the telecoms that provide them with wireless services.

We always hear about anytime, anywhere Internet access with any device. In many cases that notion has been nothing more than a promise. Small cells make that idea a reality.