Nokia Networks is the first to bring LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) to small cells by demonstrating carrier aggregation to deliver a peak data rate of more than 200Mbps, it announced this week (13 November 2014).
With Nokia Flexi Zone small cells, throughput in hot spots and complex urban areas, such as crowded outdoor and indoor locations, can be doubled using a single micro or pico base station. The development will help operators satisfy mobile data traffic growth with easy-to-deploy small cells.
Nokia Networks claimed it is rapidly gaining momentum in the small cell market. To add to a large number of deals which include the recently announced contracts with Zain KSA and Vodafone Group, the company has secured ten new deals in the last month and a half.
Nokia Flexi Zone small cells support up to 600 active users or devices to enable operators to meet future growth in demand. Commercial Flexi Zone small cell deployments are already supporting heavy traffic loads of more than 150 active users per cell – a figure exceeding typical specifications for other small cell products on the market. The installations have also achieved 100% availability, even under high traffic load, while offloading 80% of traffic from the operator’s macro network.
“The market success reflects the ongoing development of our Flexi Zone small cells solution. When we first announced Flexi Zone micro and pico base stations, we did what many pundits thought was impossible by packing a macro sector’s worth of capacity into the industry’s smallest outdoor small cell and bringing full macro software parity,” said Marc Rouanne, executive vice president, mobile broadband, Nokia Networks. “We also promised to show that it would be possible to software upgrade a small cell to LTE-A. Now we’ve done that too.”
Nokia Networks pointed out it was recently positioned by analyst firm Gartner in the “Leaders” quadrant of the “Magic Quadrant for Small Cell Equipment”, which evaluates vendors on completeness of vision and ability to execute.
Operators will need to evolve to Ultra Dense Networks (UDNs) to meet future mobile broadband capacity demands. Flexi Zone has many attributes that can help enable this evolution: macro capacity and software parity, LTE-A capabilities, the option to include Wi-Fi within the same small cell, and the ability to evolve to a zone controller for larger and denser deployments.
To help operators, Nokia Networks said it also offers a comprehensive set of Services for HetNets to manage the complexity involved in deploying the best-performing HetNets and evolving them to UDNs.