How to Address Small Cell Deployment Challenges?

Telecom Tech Outlook | Friday, April 30, 2021

Custom engineering for each cell site implementation is not cost-effective, so solutions must be according to common standard designs that can be modified for various technological and aesthetic requirements.

Fremont, CA: Customers in metropolitan areas will be able to use 5G mobile networks thanks to efforts by network providers and communities around the country. To meet coverage and power demands, this will necessitate the installation of thousands of outdoor small cells. From coast to coast, state to state, and even street to street within cities, operator technological requirements, municipal aesthetic requirements, and utility company metering/power requirements differ significantly. The volume of different configuration specifications can be overwhelming when you add in campus settings and private LTE networks. This diversity establishes natural barriers in the implementation of 5G densified networks around the ecosystem.

Here are four ways to address challenges in small cell deployment:

Standardization

Manufacturers of telecom equipment are now working to standardize small cell deployment solutions. Custom engineering for each cell site implementation is not cost-effective, so solutions must be based on a few standard designs that can be modified for a variety of technological and aesthetic requirements. Small cell radios, antennas, power supplies, and other parts are being made as small as possible to fit inside concealment housings.

Modularity

A diverse set of modular solutions is essential for a successful small cell deployment, particularly in densely populated areas. Site components must accommodate a number of deployment situations, such as positioning the radio next to the antenna or at the opposite end of a pole from the antenna.

Aesthetics

Cities and residents alike want 5G coverage, but they don't want unflattering boxes hanging from their streetlights or utility poles, necessitating the need for concealment. Many cities have their conceptions of what constitutes appropriate concealment. To alleviate aesthetic issues, manufacturers are incorporating site concealment into their designs and have come up with a wide range of concealment solutions, ranging from streetlight poles to wall-mounted enclosures disguised as street signs.

Collaboration

Operators, towns, and equipment suppliers should collaborate to exchange problems and find solutions to increase the chances of success.

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