Nokia expands Flexi Zone small cell portfolio

33 new Flexi Zone Multiband and Mini Macro variants introduced as well as 3G support in the Flexi Zone Micro; new features boost maximum data download speeds by up to 65% and upload speeds by up to 100%

Nokia expands Flexi Zone small cell portfolio

Nokia has expanded its Flexi Zone portfolio of small cell radios with new features designed to boost performance and simplify deployment, thereby enabling faster installation and optimisation for operators and enterprises.

The manufacturer argues that operators are expanding ultra-dense networks to provide capacity and connectivity to support future demands including IoT and particularly in dense 'megacity' locations.

As such, it claims that the deployment of small cells is becoming highly attractive: enterprises wishing to deploy dedicated, secure and robust networks to enhance their businesses will also require a simplified deployment process, with the ability to self-install small cells without specialised network knowledge.

SON innovations
With these requirements in mind, Nokia has introduced five Flexi Zone Controller-enabled distributed Self Organizing Network (SON) innovations - in combination with the Nokia centralised SON Eden-Net solution - to cut the complexity and cost of small cell deployment.

These capabilities, which complement the Nokia Site Certified for Overall Relative Efficiency (SCORE) service offer, will ease the addition of thousands of small cells in an operator's operation and management system, improve plug-and-play installation and offer real-time optimisation of the small cell layer to ease densification and deployment in multi-vendor macro networks, according to Nokia.

25 new frequency band and radio access technologies (RAT) variants of the Flexi Zone Multiband BTS and eight frequency variants of the Mini-Macro BTS portfolio will further expand deployment options.

In addition, 3G support in two frequency bands will be added for the compact Flexi Zone Micro. The Flexi Zone micro and indoor pico BTS in the US 3.5GHz CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service) band, made commercially available in June, are the industry's first mobile network solutions to support this new band.

New features
Nokia is also introducing three new small cell features which will boost performance across the Flexi Zone portfolio to support 4.5G Pro. Uplink carrier aggregation with two carriers will double peak upload data speeds to 102Mbps and downlink 256 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) support will boost subscribers' download peak performance by more than 30%.

As mobile network operators begin to leverage aggregation of licensed and unlicensed spectrum technologies (LTE-U/LAA, LWA/LWIP), Nokia is doubling its LTE-U bandwidth support to 40 MHz on the Flexi Zone Multiband BTS range, to further enhance LTE-U small cell performance by up to 33 percent.

Mark Atkinson, head of the Small Cell Business Line at Nokia, said: "We continue to boost the performance of our Flexi Zone portfolio to smooth operators' deployment of much-needed capacity into their networks. This will allow them to prepare for the ever-growing demands of people and IoT, particularly in dense megacities.

“The future introduction of Nokia MulteFire technology will mean many more enterprises will be able to deploy their own discreet networks to enjoy the benefits that LTE will offer. The new Self Organizing Network (SON) features will allow companies, who may not have technical expertise in this field, to deploy small cells with ease."

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