The Challenges and Solutions to Small Cell Deployment

By Telecom Tech Outlook | Thursday, September 24, 2020

Small cells are created for street-level deployment, and local governments want to offer attractive cityscapes for their residents. However, it can be challenging to adopt different technical and aesthetic needs while integrating future and emerging technologies.

FREMONT, CA: As network operators and municipalities seek to provide 5G mobile services to customers in urban areas, the need for installing thousands of small outdoor cells increases to meet the coverage and capacity demands. However, one size does not fit all, creating challenges in deploying 5G densified networks. Operator technical requirements, municipal aesthetic requirements, and power requirements can differ across the country, state to state, as well as street to street. Also, campus settings, private LTE networks, and the volume of different configuration needs can be overwhelming.

Top 10 Small Cell and DAS Consulting/Service Companies - 2020Here are some obstacles in small cell deployment and how to tackle it:

Power and Fiber Backhaul

Small cells need more power than what is supplied for streetlights and fiber to the site. This can be a lengthy and costly process. Public Utilities and municipalities can bring infrastructure projects like distributed power systems, smart meter conversion, and coupling fiber builds with street development to reduce time and cost in the future.

Site Acquisition and Aesthetics

Small cells are created for street-level deployment, and local governments want to offer appealing cityscapes for their residents. However, it can be challenging to adopt different technical and aesthetic needs while integrating future and emerging technologies. Although every party wants a quick deployment, it can be difficult to follow through the technical requirements for municipalities and public utilities who are not well-versed as mobile operators. The design and manufacturing community also faces issues to work with stakeholders to create concealment solutions that meet current needs and future considerations.

How to overcome the challenges:

Modularity

Having an extensive selection of modular solutions is essential for small cell deployment success, especially in urban areas. Site components need to support a broad range of deployment scenarios, like locating the radio near the antenna.

Standardization

Telecom equipment manufacturers are shifting to standardize small cell deployment solutions, which is not cost-effective when custom engineering for every cell site development. Thus, solutions need to be based on specific standard designs that can accommodate various technical and aesthetic needs.

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