The Small Cell Forum, the independent industry and operator association that supports small cell deployment worldwide, announced this week (4 June 2013) early details of Release Two, its plan to accelerate enterprise small cell deployments, to be published in December 2013.
These plans highlight the massive opportunities for operators to add significant value to their deployments through new services, as well as pinpointing the challenges and how they can be overcome, the Forum said.
The combination of enterprise small cells and network-based management applications allow operators to add significant value with new features. These include: dedicated voice capacity, mobile unified communications, mobile call recording, local switching of voice traffic and context aware services, as well as the fast-developing field of network analytics.
However, there are also several key enterprise challenges that are significantly more complex than those found in residential femtocells. These include inter-cell interactions, larger coverage areas and increased user numbers typically with higher user mobility.
Gordon Mansfield, chairman of the Small Cell Forum, said: ‘The enterprise segment represents a huge opportunity for the mobile operator community, both in terms of increasing coverage but also with enterprise IT architects who are seeking to move all personal communications services on to mobile devices and “unwire” their organisations.
‘However, to date the enterprise has largely proven hard to target effectively. Building on the solid foundation of Release One, our Enterprise Release will provide additional detail tailored to the segment to help operators unlock the considerable potential of this market.’
Enterprise small cells deliver improved coverage and capacity as well as providing a platform for advanced business applications and network analytics, which can be located either on-site or in the mobile network. Traditionally this market segment has been underserved, as options such as Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) have only been available to larger scale enterprises due to the considerable costs involved.
The Forum defines the enterprise space as generally indoor, premises-based and primarily driven by coverage but also including specific services and analytics. Market segments within enterprise include; Small Business/SOHO, Medium Enterprise/Mid-sized Office Buildings, Large Enterprise/Corporate Campus, Multi-Dwelling Unit, Retail Shop, Shopping Mall, Medical Facility/Hospital, Government/Municipal Building, Hotel and Underground Facilities.
The Enterprise themed Release Two will be published in December 2013 in Dallas at the Small Cells Americas followed by Release Three focused on urban small cells, which is scheduled for release at Mobile World Congress 2014. Each Small Cell Forum Release contains a guide for operators to deploy small cells in the various segments.
Also included is detailed information on key areas such as market drivers, business case, security, radio technology, interference issues, standards, regulatory issues and a profile of recommended equipment interoperability for use in RFPs.
Release One was developed by the complete Small Cell Forum membership and is freely available from the Small Cell Forum Release site, except the interoperability profile which is made available to all Small Cell Forum members.
Small Cell Forum announces Deployment Special Interest Group
The Small Cell Forum also announced the formation of a special interest group to drive consensus and create best practice for building and maintaining scalable small cells networks.
The Deployment SIG will work in close conjunction with other Forum working and special interest groups in particular those relating to networks, rural, regulatory and backhaul. It will produce details of best practice, whitepapers and presentations which will then be shared amongst the Forum’s membership and available publicly through the Forum’s Release Programme. The new group will be specifically focused on four areas:
- Regulatory – relating to site acquisition, zoning, local legislation, city council rules and public liaisons.
- Business models – considering areas such as neutral/wholesale hosting, leased capacity and shared networks.
- Build – looking at RF & backhaul planning, installation, integration, power, physical, size/loading, safety and security.
- Operational – including maintenance, accessibility, SON impact, service level agreements, key performance indicators and capacity provisioning.
‘As small cell deployments of all flavours continue to gain momentum around the globe there is a huge value to be had from sharing operator experiences of deploying and maintaining these networks with the wider ecosystem,’ Graham Wright, CEO of the Small Cell Forum. ‘The creation of this group provides a single point of focus to work closely with operators to share best practice and reduce deployment challenge.
‘The considerations around the deployment of small cells are some of the most important affecting the industry. There has been considerable demand – both internally and from other trade associations – keen for the Forum to lead debate in this area. The newly formed SIG’s early priorities include capturing industry best practice in enterprise deployments for Release Two later this year,’ Wright added.