MWC 2014 Preview: NSN enhanced Flexi Zone controller brings Liquid Applications to small cells

Software-based hot zone controller runs on macro sites to support nearby small cells and can use shared Ethernet between controller and small cell base stations to slash indoor deployment costs

MWC 2014 Preview: NSN enhanced Flexi Zone controller brings Liquid Applications to small cells

Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) is extending its award-winning Flexi Zone architecture, making it the ‘most versatile small cell solution able to cover all deployment scenarios’, according to the company.

A Flexi Zone controller application can be added to existing macro-cellular base stations to run a large number of nearby small cells. Flexi Zone’s cluster approach can now be used for indoor deployments. In addition, Flexi Zone controller supports the integration of NSN Liquid Applications to deliver locally-relevant, fast services directly from small cell base station clusters.

NSN is launching a software version of its Flexi Zone controller that can be deployed on Flexi Multiradio 10 base stations. This provides operators with a cost-effective way to implement clusters of outdoor and indoor small cells for fill-in coverage near existing macro sites, for example in streets flanked by high-rise buildings. It also enables early deployment of hot zones by re-using macro site infrastructure.

Flexi Zone controller can run a mix of indoor and outdoor cells within one cluster, making it the first small cell solution capable of addressing large and very large indoor environments like airports, university campuses and shopping malls, NSN claimed.

With the new controller capabilities, Flexi Zone’s virtually unlimited scaling of capacity and advanced interference mitigation techniques can also support very high density indoor locations such as busy metro stations, exhibition centres and conference halls.

Flexi Zone controller software can also be used to increase the capacity of legacy macro-cellular Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) in large buildings by supporting the deployment of complementary LTE and Wi-Fi small cells.

Unlike conventional DAS or hybrid DAS systems, the enhanced Flexi Zone controller can make use of many different transport media including a building’s existing and shared Ethernet (LAN), fibre or coaxial cabling, or even wireless links for large open indoor spaces, slashing operators’ deployment costs by avoiding the need to install dedicated connections.

The third major development enables the Flexi Zone controller to support the integration of NSN Radio Application Cloud Server functionality to enable Liquid Applications on a cluster of small cells. Radio Application Cloud Server provides processing and storage, together with the ability to collect real-time network data.

These features can be exploited by applications to offer context-relevant services that transform the mobile broadband experience. Liquid Applications offers caching and local offload for street level deployments, as well as enabling operators to provide value added services indoors to enterprises and public indoor locations.

“Flexi Zone architecture continues to push the boundaries of what small cells can do and future HetNets will look like,” said Randy Cox, head of Small Cells product management at NSN. “Our latest enhancements open up vast new potential for operators to provide top-quality mobile broadband services to their subscribers in even the largest indoor environments and make Flexi Zone the most versatile and lowest overall cost small cell solution.

“The ability to run Liquid Applications from clusters of small cells will transform what HetNets can do by providing game-changing applications and personalized services matched to a subscriber’s location and context.”

Visit NSN’s Experience Center in Hall 3, 3B10 at Mobile World Congress, Fira Gran Via, in Barcelona, Spain.


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