Compact LTE metro cells add flexibility in delivering ultra-broadband mobile access

Compact LTE metro cells add flexibility in delivering ultra-broadband mobile access

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By eeNews Europe

Compact Metro Cell Outdoor (CMCO) is currently being trialled with a number of operators around the globe and is 50 percent smaller than existing metro cells. This provides more options for the discrete creation of HetNets to improve coverage and capacity, including integrating the device into street furniture, such as the digital advertising signage in bus shelters being developed by JCDecaux as part of a technology partnership with Alcatel-Lucent. A 2 x 2 W metro cell comes in at a mere 6K cubic centimeters.

The CMCO family integrates the latest embedded baseband innovations, an LTE radio, higher power output and modular design options, including external antennas. It supports a greater number of active users and offers even more deployment flexibility. The compact size also allows them to be wall-mounted and hidden from view, with just the antenna visible, and optimally placed to offer customers the highest service quality.

CMCO supports LTE mobile ultra-broadband connectivity, with Wi-Fi as an option, and boasts increased capacity, supporting up to 200 users. Later versions using system-on-a-chip (SoC) technology will support 60 MHz within one box, as well as the ability to daisy chain to aggregate multiple small cell sectors.

Operators can connect CMCO devices via backhaul into their wider network. In addition, the ability to bypass the embedded baseband unit (BBU) means they will also be able to connect via a Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) to a centralized BBU, managing multiple radios. This will allow them to smoothly evolve networks and leverage the efficiencies offered by a virtualized RAN architecture.

Radio-on-chip (RoC) technology used in these metro cells enables 43% greater power efficiency compared to small cells without this technology. This is an important consideration for network operators. In the recent IntelliSpektrum project, under which Bell Labs, the industrial research arm of Alcatel-Lucent, collaborated with the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics, the Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz-Institute and Intel Mobile Communications GmbH, it found that mobile networks which use a mix of macro and small cell radio base stations can see energy savings of up to 50 percent.

Mike Schabel, Vice President of Small Cells in Alcatel-Lucent said: “By extending our small cell product family to include the Compact Metro Cell Outdoor, we are offering a solution that meets the needs of any operator in any location. The goal of this product was to enable operators to seamlessly and simply integrate the product inside of existing street furniture and simplify municipality zoning approvals. Our existing Metro Cells continues to help them with pole-mounting and wall-mounting applications, while we are expanding their deployment options with the Compact Metro Cell Outdoor.”

The 9764 Compact Metro Cell Outdoor family is available in various output powers: 2 x 1 W for dense urban locations (to complement the existing Metro Cell family), 2 x 2 W for optimal coverage and capacity, and 2 x 5 W for the highest coverage. They use of a variety of external antennas (directional or omni directional), which allows for a number of mounting options, including the ability to discreetly integrate within street furniture or behind walls.

The Compact Metro Cell Outdoor family is commercially available now within the 1800 MHz frequency, B7 operating band and 2600 MHz frequency, B3 operating band, with a full complement of frequencies for FDD and TDD available throughout 2015.

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