NSN introduces smallest one-box LTE micro, pico base stations offering full macro capacity and functionality

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Flexi Zone small cells, advanced network planning to support future-proof HetNets

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Software and feature parity between macro and micro/pico cells is one of the critical steps needed in the small cell market maturation. It will help create tighter integration between the two network layers, which can lead to improved HetNet performance.

Nokia Solutions and Networks is introducing new Flexi Zone LTE microcell and picocell base stations that not only are the smallest but also the industry’s only small cell solution with the same features and capacity as macro base stations. This is critical for integration into high-capacity Heterogeneous Networks (HetNets). To complement the base stations, NSN is enhancing its expert Services for HetNets with the use of a new multi-layer hot spot analysis and planning tool to help operators match their network deployments to business objectives.

Daryl Schoolar, principal analyst for Network Infrastructure at Ovum notes: “One of the reasons for reality of small cell uptake not matching early overhyped expectations can be attributed to the fact that maturity of the product offerings had not met operator expectations. Software and feature parity between macro and micro/pico cells is one of the critical steps needed in the small cell market maturation. It will help create tighter integration between the two network layers, which can lead to improved HetNet performance. Along with integration, mobile operators need to have a strategy with how to manage their small cell networks as they scale and traffic hotspots expand.”

Packing up to 5W of output power in an install-anywhere 5 kg/5 liter box, NSN’s new all-in-one base stations will be available in early 2014. They are considerably smaller and lighter than existing microcell and picocell units, enabling them to be mounted closer to the center of traffic hot spots and robust enough to be deployed both outdoors and in public indoor locations. The base stations also feature a built-in GPS module and 1588v2 synchronization, avoiding the need for any extra units, further simplifying and speeding deployment.

Their macro-level processing power comes from an innovative custom System on a Chip that allows the new base stations to run the same software as NSN’s macro base stations. This makes it easy to integrate them into complex HetNets and drastically simplifies software upgrades across the network so that the same features are available everywhere at the same time. Operators will benefit from all the macrocell features, such as easy software upgrade to LTE-Advanced, full support of NSN’s NetAct Operations Support System (OSS), intelligent Self-Organizing Networks (iSON) automation as well as the industry-acclaimed Smart Scheduler* and interference mitigation** for superior subscriber performance in dense urban areas .

Initially expected to be used to provide hot spot capacity, the microcell and picocell base station software can when needed be remotely upgraded to create denser and larger hot zones as part of NSN’s award-winning Flexi Zone*** architecture.

“Small cells have conventionally been cut down versions of macro base stations with reduced performance. In contrast, Flexi Zone microcell and picocell base stations use the latest System on a Chip technologies to deliver the same processing power as a macro base station. As traffic demand rises, they can be upgraded to a full Flexi Zone deployment to build seamless multi-layer, high-density, future-proof HetNets,” said Randy Cox, head of Small Cells product management at NSN.

The new microcell and picocell base stations also include NSN’s radio access security solution****, which encrypts the traffic between the base stations and core network and automatically ensures that only operator authorized base stations can access the network. They are fitted with Bluetooth capabilities that enable remote access to the base stations from the ground. This is used for configuration when mounting the unit and, later on, for field maintenance thus reducing the time, cost and street disruption of using specialist access equipment.

To support its Flexi Zone solution, NSN has enhanced its Services for HetNets capabilities with a new analysis and planning tool that can optimize the deployment of base stations for multi-layer hot spots. Our services experts can use this tool to analyze an almost unlimited range of geo-tagged data to plan the network according to the operator’s business objectives. This data may include, for example, social media, geo-located traffic, device and application profiles, and roaming information, as well as data from NSN’s Customer Experience Management insights, such as user satisfaction. This allows operators to deploy small cells precisely where needed to achieve the results they want and to justify the necessary investments.

In this video interview, Stephane Daeuble, small cell marketing manager at NSN, tells more about solving capacity in congested areas with Small Cells and LTE. Additionally, NSN is organizing a webinar on 19 November to discuss more news and development of LTE-Advanced, Flexi Zone and advances with Services for HetNet.

To share your thoughts and comments, join the discussion with @NSNtweets on twitter using #smallcells, #HetNet, #mobilebroadband and #1GBperday$.

About NSN
Nokia Solutions and Networks is the world’s specialist in mobile broadband. From the first ever call on GSM, to the first call on LTE, we operate at the forefront of each generation of mobile technology. Our global experts invent the new capabilities our customers need in their networks. We provide the world’s most efficient mobile networks, the intelligence to maximize the value of those networks, and the services to make it all work seamlessly.

With headquarters in Espoo, Finland, we operate in over 120 countries and had net sales of approximately 13.4 billion euros in 2012. http://www.nsn.com

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Notes

  • Smart Scheduler is a unique NSN LTE scheduler that assigns blocks of frequency spectrum to users every millisecond, according to their required Quality of Service and the demands of the application in use. Download the White Paper here (PDF).

** NSN interference mitigation techniques (IMT) software offers greater than 100% improvement in downlink and cell throughput and 35% improvement in uplink throughput, resulting in excellent user experience.

*** Flexi Zone allows an operator to build almost unlimited capacity by deploying clusters of access points across a hot zone. Flexi Zone uses LTE and/or LTE/Wi-Fi access points to complement the macro-cellular network, offering operators up to 50% lower overall costs than conventional small cell capacity deployments.

**** NSN is the market leader in LTE security providing 3GPP-compliant security across mobile broadband networks.

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