Ruckus Wireless announced today (2 March 2015) that its 802.11ac technology is being integrated into Nokia Networks’ Flexi Zone Small cell indoor and outdoor solutions.
Ruckus has been working with Nokia Networks to integrate its 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology into selected Flexi Zone products to address the growing demand for more comprehensive solutions that help operators more efficiently address the skyrocketing data capacity demands they face.
As the number of mobile Internet users and smart mobile devices continues to grow dramatically, advanced services like video streaming, multimedia-rich social media and VoIP are inflating traffic volumes. Adding conventional cellular macro base stations to address this challenge is typically time-consuming and often cost prohibitive.
Consequently, mobile network operators (MNOs) are increasingly looking for cost-effective solutions and more flexible approaches using small cells to ease this pressure on their existing infrastructures.
With Ruckus-powered technology integrated into Nokia Networks’ Flexi Zone solutions, service providers now have available a purpose-built, flexible and more cost-effective small cell solution. It’s a solution engineered specifically for service providers looking to offload traffic from the macro network to an underlay network at a street and indoor level, both for individual subscribers and enterprises.
“While operators continue to embrace the licensed spectrum to address ballooning traffic demands, it’s clear that integrating carrier-class Wi-Fi into small cells is a smart, forward-thinking approach to addressing this challenge, even in the most advanced cellular networks,” said Greg Beach, vice president of Product Management at Ruckus Wireless.
“As service providers shift their focus toward serving high-traffic stationary areas and indoor deployments, and the need to inject more capacity and coverage into their infrastructures as part of an overall heterogeneous network strategy, the business case for small cells is extremely compelling.”
Small cells are fully featured, short-range and low power wireless base stations used to complement mobile phone service from larger macrocell towers. Small cell solutions can be used for both outdoor and indoor applications with a range of transmit (TX) power and user count capabilities.
Small cells offer a cost-effective solution for both coverage and data capacity, and have been developed for both 3G and 4G radio technologies.
A cost-effective way to expand limited coverage deployments to meet explosive capacity demands, Nokia Flexi Zone base stations combine LTE or 3G and Wi-Fi into self-configuring units that provide coverage and capacity to underlay networks, both indoors and outdoors.
The combined Ruckus/Nokia Networks small cell solution will be commercially available in the first half of 2015 from Nokia Networks. It brings together, for the first time, best in class cellular and Wi-Fi technology to enable operators interested in integrating small cells within their macro networks the ability to create more efficient heterogeneous network services that allow them to more quickly and easily scale capacity and coverage as needed.
Small cell market expectations
Adding additional radio frequency (RF) capacity while improving spectral efficiency are two strategies of great interest to mobile network operators around the world, Ruckus asserts.
The use of smarter wireless systems that allow operators to more easily inject wireless capacity into their service infrastructure and better optimise Wi-Fi traffic flow over the unlicensed spectrum to offload data from cellular macro networks has increased significantly, a trend that is expected to continue.
According to a recent Advanced Research Report by Dell’Oro on small cells (January 2015), the total small cell market is expected to grow ten-fold to more than $5 billion (USD) by 2019, accounting for more than ten percent of the combined macro and small cell spending.
“We expect small cells to continue to have a profound and transformative impact on the telecommunications industry, helping to solve the capacity crunch being experienced by both service providers and their subscribers around the world.
“Our pioneering efforts with Nokia Networks to incorporate Ruckus Wi-Fi technology into their small cells are proactively addressing this problem, offering an innovative solution for operators worldwide,” concluded Beach.