Small cells are especially relevant for 5G private networks, one of the biggest 5G use cases with the potential to touch $60 billion over the next five years. Private networks are non-public networks and are set up for use by a private entity, which can be a major enterprise or a Government entity. There will be 1.56 million private 5G small cells deployed by 2027, up from 1,945 5G small cells deployed in 2020, according to a Rethink RAN Research.
While 4G-powered private networks are already prevalent, 5G's extremely low latency and ultra-high-speed mean that the private networks are going to be much more widespread now. 5G-enabled private networks will power several innovative Industry 4.0 use cases, like digital twin, 3D models to reduce deployment time for complex machines and improving productivity by running machine-led production for an extended time, among several others. 5G-enabled private networks are also likely to witness deployment in critical infrastructures like ports, airports, healthcare and railways. Small cells will be also required to enhance the connectivity in indoor areas to enable 5G use cases. Read More..
To build these 5G private networks, STL has indigenously designed and developed small cell Garuda, that complements the network coverage, density and capacity of macro radio networks seamlessly. Garuda comes with different O-RAN configurations (currently 7.2x and 2.0), both for indoor and outdoor environment. Split 2.0 small cells are designed to handle more than 32 concurrent user devices without any impact on quality. These small cells are single board optical to radio interface solution, that supports four transmit and receive (4T4R) paths to address the growing data demand. Compliant with latest energy standards, Garuda helps the enterprises in minimizing their operational expenditure. Its small form factor coupled with the plug and play feature brings down the installation time to 30 minutes. With STL's Garuda, the service providers and the enterprises can cost-effectively and quickly prepare for both private and public 5G networks. Read Less..
Compact and lightweight design with flexible mounting options supporting pole, vertical walls and ceiling
Standardized open interfaces enables innovation and competition among vendors and hence better cost
Easy field set-up and verification, software diagnostics and easy "hitless" upgrades
Improved Energy Efficiency
Compliant with latest energy standards to ensure optimum power consumption and reduces carbon footprint up to 5 times
Plug and Play Solution
Can be installed with auto-configuration within 30 mins and supports PoE++
Small cells use a low-power, short-range wireless transmission system that typically covers small geographical areas or indoor areas. Small cells reuse frequencies on a highly dense basis to take full advantage of the available spectrum. They are generally used for handling high data rates for mobile broadband and Internet of Things (IoT) and low-power devices. Typically, they are used to enhance coverage in small areas, especially indoor spaces.
The key benefits of small cells include:
While the service providers have been using small cells to enhance coverage of 3G and 4G networks, 5G has heightened the need for a short-range network because 5G use cases demand closer proximity to the location where content is being created.
As the 5G rollout gains momentum worldwide, more and more radios are being deployed because 5G demands densification to ensure ultra-high-speed and low-latency services. Densification is not just expensive but also time-consuming. However, small cells are emerging as a technology of choice to boost signals in the indoor areas, especially those with high-density of users, like shopping centers, stadiums and workplaces.
Improving indoor coverage is crucial because 80% of mobile broadband traffic originates from mobile users in the indoor environment. 5G especially demands massive number of small cells because signal propagation is more in higher frequencies.
The deployment of millimetre wave technologies in urban areas has further enhanced the need for small cells. As a result, more and more 5G small cells will be part of the communications network.
There are three types of 5G small cells: femtocells, picocells and microcells. Essentially, the difference is in the range and the number of users it can support.
While femtocells extend coverage by 10 to 50 meters, picocells and microcells expand the range by around 200 to 250 meters and 500 meters to two kilometres, respectively. On the other hand, femtocells can provide capacity to 8-16 users, while picocells and microcells can ensure capacity to 32-64 and up to 200 users, respectively.
With 5G deployments on the way, all major Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are going for network densification, which includes massive deployments of small cells.
While small cells have several proven advantages, they also add to the network complexity and even operational processes. As telcos deploy more and more small cells, the network design will need to evolve from monolithic to multi-technology. Further, the network should be geared to work with both licensed and unlicensed spectrum. Additionally, identifying the location for the deployment of the small cells calls for a different strategy. The CSPs need to consider the existing fibre and the application of the small cells before deciding on the perfect location for small cells. Besides, the telcos might also need to deal with different small cells deployment rules and regulations for different areas.